On January 26, 2018, the Census Bureau announced that the 2020 Census would not include a new “Middle Eastern orNorthAfrican” category or use a combined question format. The decision is anegregious rejection of stakeholder interest that impedes the possibility of an accurate count.

The decision came after the Office of Management and Budget delayed a planned December release of recommendations regarding the standards for race and ethnicity data for federal agencies, which would affect the categories used in the decennial census. The failure to adopt an approach that we have worked on for more than three decades is irresponsible and threatens to undo years of meticulous research and consultation with stakeholders; research that continuously indicated that a more accurate count could be achieved through these changes.


The Arab American Institute (AAI) is suing the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to disclose requested FOIA records regarding the OMB's decision not to release recommendations on the standards for the classification of federal data on race and ethnicity, which due to time constraints of the Census process, forced a default decision regarding an anticipated change to the current U.S. Census Bureau ("USCB") standards.

This action seeks a declaratory judgment that OMB is in violation of FOIA, by refusing to respond to AAI's FOIA request and refusing to search for and provide AAI with all responsive documents sought. Further, this action seeks an order requiring OMB to process and release to AAI the requested records in their entirety.


Complaint (April 13, 2018)

Answer to Complaint (May 17, 2018) 

Order (May 18, 2018)

Status Report (June 15, 2018)