Sunday, 25 August, 2019

Trump insists he's not dropping census citizenship question effort

2020 U.S. Census A letter from the U.S. Census Bureau to a resident
Patty Aguilar | 05 July, 2019, 06:26

Less than 24 hours after warning that he is still "trying to do that", Trump has reportedly abandoned his almost two-year long battle to politicize the census by including a question about citizenship status.

On Tuesday, the Trump administration quietly announced its decision to print 2020 census forms without a citizenship question.

And Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross issued a statement saying "The Census Bureau has started the process of printing the decennial questionnaires without the question" even though he said he disagreed with the Supreme Court ruling. The Supreme Court appeared to deal a major blow to the Trump administration's plans last week, when it ruled that the Justice Department's reasons for including the question seemed "contrived".

For months, the administration had argued that the courts needed to decide quickly whether the citizenship question could be added because of the deadline to starting printing materials this week.

Democratic mayors and governors opposed to the question argued that they'd get less federal money and fewer representatives in Congress if the question was asked because it would discourage the participation of minorities, primarily Hispanics, who tend to support Democrats.

In addition, during a hearing Tuesday evening, a federal judge asked the Department whether the decision was "final" and the Department of Justice said that it was, according to plaintiff's lawyers participating in the call. George J. Hazel, ordered the USA government to come up with a final decision on the citizenship question by Friday afternoon.

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A day after pledging that the 2020 census would not ask respondents about their citizenship, the Justice Department reversed course on Wednesday and said it was hunting for a way to restore the question on orders from President Trump. Trump wrote. "We are absolutely moving forward, as we must, because of the importance of the answer to this question". He said the census question was vital for the country and needs to be included.

A day earlier, a Justice Department spokeswoman confirmed that there would be "no citizenship question on the 2020 census" amid signs that the administration was ending the legal fight.

His latest tweet blindsided senior officials who have since been working frantically to find a legal means to include the question, USA media report.

Trump's hardline policies on immigration have been a key element of his presidency and 2020 re-election campaign.

"We think there may be a legally available path under the Supreme Court's decision". "Despite that, and despite DOJ's repeated statements that the census questionnaire cannot be changed after June 30, the administration is now examining whether it can concoct a "new rationale" for its citizenship question". "Given the printing deadline, I don't see how all of this could happen in time", Ohlin said. "Any attempt at an end run around the Supreme Court's decision will be unsuccessful, and will be met swiftly in court". Opponents have said a citizenship question would instill fear in immigrant households that the information would be shared with law enforcement, deterring them from taking part.

Jody Hunt, the assistant attorney general for the Civil Division, told the judge that if they find a viable path, they plan to go to the Supreme Court for "instructions.to simplify and expedite the remaining litigation and provide clarity to the process going forward".

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