Trump Tells Administration to ‘Do Whatever is Necessary’ to Add Citizenship Question to Census

Trump Tells Administration to ‘Do Whatever is Necessary’ to Add Citizenship Question to Census
President Donald Trump speaks to U.S. troops at the Osan Airbase in Pyeongtaek, South Korea on June 20, 2019. (Kim Min-Hee - Pool/Getty Images)

President Donald Trump said that he’s instructed two federal agencies to continue trying to add a question about citizenship to the 2020 Census after news circulated that the census would be printed without 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!” Trump said in a post on Twitter late July 2.

“Going on for a long time. I have asked the Department of Commerce and the Department of Justice to do whatever is necessary to bring this most vital of questions, and this very important case, to a successful conclusion. USA! USA! USA!”

The Supreme Court said in a 5-4 ruling in late June that the administration couldn’t add the question, claiming its reasoning for wanting to add the question was suspect. Trump responded by saying he would be seeking to delay the census until the issue was resolved.

“I have asked the lawyers if they can delay the Census, no matter how long, until the United States Supreme Court is given additional information from which it can make a final and decisive decision on this very critical matter. Can anyone really believe that as a great Country, we are not able the ask whether or not someone is a Citizen. Only in America!” he wrote in a missive at the time.

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 claim the question would lead to illegal immigrants not filling out the census.

Just days after Trump said the census could be delayed for a while, his administration said it would begin printing census forms without the question.

Former Obama White House lawyer Daniel Jacobson shared an email from the Department of Justice that showed the department would begin printing the forms.

2020 U.S. Census
A letter from the U.S. Census Bureau to a resident. (Michelle R. Smith/AP Photo)
U.S. President Donald Trump speaks
President Donald Trump speaks next to Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross during a Cabinet meeting at the White House in Washington on Feb. 12, 2019. (Carlos Barria/Reuters)

“We can confirm that the decision has been made to print the 2020 Decennial Census questionnaire without a citizenship question, and that the printer has been instructed to begin the printing process,” Kate Bailey, an attorney at the department, wrote in the email.

Department of Justice spokeswoman Kelly Laco told the left-leaning Associated Press that there would be “no citizenship question on 2020 census.”

Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross also confirmed that the process of printing the forms had begun.

“The Census Bureau has started the process of printing the decennial questionnaires without the question,” Ross told the right-leaning Fox News. “My focus, and that of the Bureau and the entire Department is to conduct a complete and accurate census.”

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