President Trump made the announcement that he would “immediately” issue an executive order to get an accurate count of non-citizens and citizens in the United States. Trump asserted that the measure would be “far more accurate,” as opposed to simply relying on a citizenship question in the 2020 census.
“Today I’m here to say we are not backing down in our effort to determine the citizenship status of the United States population,” President Trump told reporters in the Rose Garden after bashing “far-left Democrats” seeking to “conceal the number of illegal aliens in our midst.”
“We will leave no stone unturned,” Trump assured. He then labeled any legal opposition to adding a citizenship question to the 2020 census “meritless,” while also pointing out that the number of ongoing judicial battles in several federal district courts would make it impossible to come to a resolution on the issue before the printing of the 2020 census forms.
Attorney General Barr then spoke on what the information would be used for. “That information will be used for countless purposes. For example, there is a current dispute over whether illegal aliens can be included for apportionment purposes. … We will be studying this issue.”
Additionally, Barr slammed media reports that the White House would issue an executive order in an attempt to illegally force a citizenship question on the census. “In the hysterical mode of the day,” Barr said, media outlets speculated that Trump simply would add the question to the census unilaterally. “This has never been under consideration,” Barr said.
Democrats were quick to try to belittle the powerful move by trump, characterizing it as a “retreat” and condemning the news conference.
“President Trump is so intent on intimidating communities of color that even when the courts and rule of law thwart him, he still tries to persist in his ham-handed ways,” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, said in a statement.
“The president’s retreat on adding the misguided citizen question to the census was long overdue and is a significant victory for democracy and fair representation. Every person must be counted, and no one should be intimidated by the president and his capricious behavior,” Schumer continued.
Trump has displayed a particular frustration with the situation at a White House conference earlier in the day where he said:
“We spend $20 billion on a census, they go through houses, they go up, they ring doorbells, they talk to people. How many toilets do they have? How many desks do they have? How many beds? What’s their roof made of? The only thing we can’t ask is, are you a citizen of the United States. Isn’t it the craziest thing?”
DOJ spokesperson Kerri Kupec told Fox News that Trump’s “alternative path” ended the legal fight over the citizenship question.
“The Supreme Court held that Secretary Ross reasonably concluded that including the citizenship question on the 2020 decennial census would provide the most complete and accurate citizenship information, but it invalidated his decision to include that question on other grounds,” Kupec said.
“The Department of Justice disagrees with the Supreme Court’s decision. Today’s Executive Order represents an alternative path to collecting the best citizenship data now available, which is vital for informed policymaking and numerous other reasons. Accordingly, the Department will promptly inform the courts that the Government will not include a citizenship question on the 2020 decennial census,” she concluded.
Trump has made strong arguments in favor of having the question on the census.
“You need it for Congress, for districting. You need it for appropriations. Where are the funds going? How many people are there? Are they citizens? Are they not citizens? You need it for many reasons,” he told reporters last week.
Trump’s workaround to achieve these same results, however, will provide the same information without the unnecessary legal battle.