Census Bureau Begins Printing Without Citizenship Question

Census Bureau Begins Printing Without Citizenship Question

He also said he had asked the Commerce and Justice departments "to do whatever is necessary to bring this most vital of questions, and this very important case, to a successful conclusion".

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.

"We are absolutely moving forward, as we must, because of the importance of the answer to this question", he wrote.

On Tuesday, Justice Department spokesperson Kelly Laco told NPR that the administration had chose to print paper forms for the 2020 census without the question.


That left the Commerce Department with little no time to resolve the matter before this past Monday's deadline for printing the questionnaires.

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 tweeted on Wednesday.

Even if the citizenship question is not on the questionnaire, the Census Bureau is still able to gather some citizenship data using its annual American Community Survey.

U.S. President Donald Trump speaks while participating in a border funding legislation signing ceremony in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, U.S. July 1, 2019.


And Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said in a statement on Tuesday that the Census Bureau would be focused on conducting a "complete and accurate census" - without the citizenship question. The Justice Department confirmed the move later Tuesday afternoon, as did the Commerce Department. Supporters say the question allows for an accurate count of US citizens while detractors argue the question would lead to illegal immigrants not filling out the census. In the Supreme Court's decision, Chief Justice John Roberts joined the court's four more liberal members in saying the administration's current justification for the question "seems to have been contrived". Republicans in Congress have since directed the bureau to spend no more on the 2020 Census than it did 10 years earlier, which they likely thought was a stealthy way of ensuring the results were equally inaccurate.

Trump said over the weekend that he was looking into delaying the census, but that does not appear to be an option.

The judge, she said, asked for formal notice in writing that the Commerce Department "has given up its fight entirely" to include the question in the 2020 count.

His suggestion that the leader of the Executive Branch defy a ruling by the Judicial Branch's top court would require Trump to take action that's prohibited by the U.S. Constitution. The court ruled that the administration had not given a sufficient reason for why the question was added.


"The census is set by statute so he doesn't have the unilateral authority to delay it", Kelly Percival, counsel at the Brennan Center for Justice told ABC News last week.

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