Trump: Stories About Government Dropping Effort to Put Citizenship Question on Census Are ‘Fake’

Trump: Stories About Government Dropping Effort to Put Citizenship Question on Census Are ‘Fake’
President Donald Trump speaks during a meeting with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, on June 20, 2019. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

President Donald Trump called news reports about his administration giving up on its efforts to include a citizenship question on the 2020 census “fake.”

“The News Reports about the Department of Commerce dropping its quest to put the Citizenship Question on the Census is incorrect or, to state it differently, FAKE!” he wrote on Twitter on July 3.

The president said that the question is important and that his administration is still working on putting it on the census.

“We are absolutely moving forward, as we must, because of the importance of the answer to this question,” Trump added.

Several administration officials said on Tuesday that the 2020 census was going to be printed without the question. For instance, Department of Justice spokeswoman Kelly Laco told the left-leaning Associated Press that there would be “no citizenship question on 2020 census.”

The missive came about 12 hours after Trump took to Twitter late Tuesday to criticize the Supreme Court ruling that his administration didn’t provide adequate justification for including the question.

“A very sad time for America when the Supreme Court of the United States won’t allow a question of ‘Is this person a Citizen of the United States?’ to be asked on the #2020 Census! Going on for a long time,” he wrote.

Trump said the Departments of Commerce and Justice had been told “to do whatever is necessary” to get the question on the census.

The Supreme Court said in a 5-4 ruling in late June that the administration couldn’t add the question, at least for the time being, claiming its reasoning for wanting to add the question was suspect.

The administration had argued that the question about a person’s citizenship is needed to better enforce a voting rights law, the Voting Rights Act of 1965 (VRA). A group of states including New York, along with immigrant rights organizations, sued to try to prevent the question from being added to the census.

Chief Justice John Roberts joined the four liberal-leaning justices in the decision. Roberts, who authored the majority opinion (pdf), said the administration’s rationale for adding the question was insufficient and described it as “more of a distraction” than an explanation.

“Unlike a typical case in which an agency may have both stated and unstated reasons for a decision, here the VRA enforcement rationale—the sole stated reason—seems to have been contrived,” Roberts wrote in the ruling. “We are presented, in other words, with an explanation for agency action that is incongruent with what the record reveals about the agency’s priorities and decision-making process.”

2020 U.S. Census
(Michelle R. Smith/AP Photo)

He then added that the court “cannot ignore the disconnect between the decision made and the explanation given.”

Writing the dissenting opinion, Justice Clarence Thomas said that the Supreme Court’s “only role in this case is to decide whether the Secretary complied with the law and gave a reasoned explanation for his decision.”

“Unable to identify any legal problem with the Secretary’s reasoning, the Court imputes one by concluding that he must not be telling the truth,” Thomas wrote, reported The Epoch Times.

Trump responded by saying he would be seeking to delay the census until the issue was resolved.

The citizenship question was on the census for centuries until it was removed in the 1950s. Supporters say the question allows for an accurate count of U.S. citizens while detractors argue the question would lead to illegal immigrants not filling out the census.

Epoch Times reporter Janita Kan contributed to this report.

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