On Thursday, President Donald Trump officially abandoned his fight to add a citizenship question to the 2020 U.S. Census, reported CNN. Despite the Supreme Court ruling in June that blocked the inclusion of the question, Trump remained adamant about finding a way to have it printed on the census questionnaire.
Due to a combination of issues, including a lack of adequate time to find a way to have the question included on the census without delaying it, Trump announced that he would be issuing an executive order directing the Commerce Department to obtain citizenship data through other means. This data will be obtained from documents handed over by the Department of Homeland Security, which oversees citizenship and asylum services, and the Social Security Administration. The order has been officially signed and released.
The retreat comes after a long fight between critics and supporters of the U.S. citizenship count. Critics believe that the question is politically motivated and designed to help Trump maintain his anti-immigration platform and avoid losing support from conservative voters for the upcoming 2020 election. However, the Trump administration claims the question will allow bolstered protection for minority populations in the country.
On Thursday, the president announced his intentions in terms of moving forward with gathering information about U.S. citizens and commented on abandoning the inclusion of the question in the upcoming census.
JUST IN: Trump admin has filed letters to federal judges for #CitizenshipQuestion lawsuits in NY & Maryland, noting President Trump's new executive order & AG William Barr's remarks earlier today confirm that "as a practical matter" the question cannot be added to #2020Census???? pic.twitter.com/WGrliHqEV2
— Hansi Lo Wang (@hansilowang) July 12, 2019
“We are not backing down on our effort to determine the citizenship status of the United States population. We will leave no stone unturned.”
Trump added, “As a result of today’s executive order we will be able to ensure the 2020 census generates an accurate count of how many citizens, non-citizens and illegal aliens are in the United States of America.”
Attorney General William Barr also spoke about the issue on Thursday, commenting that the decision is one of legal practicality rather than a shift in the Trump administration’s immigration goals.
“There is simply no way to litigate these issues and obtain relief from the current injunctions in time to implement any new decision without jeopardizing our ability to carry out the census.”
An additional factor in the decision is the reliability and costs associated with obtaining the citizenship data. Obtaining citizenship status from administrative records for the whole 2020 census population would be significantly less expensive and provide higher-quality data than relying on self-reported data.
The U.S. Census, which is sent out every 10 years, is part of the U.S. Constitution and helps calculate how many seats each state has in the House of Representatives, while also determining funding for various government programs.