President Donald Trump said his government is not backing down on its effort to determine the citizenship status of the United States population, but will not do it through Census 2020.
Instead, he outlined new steps to ensure that citizenship is counted, through an executive order for government agencies, in order to avoid delay by challenging the court order refusing the Trump administration to add the citizenship question into the census questionnaire.
In a ruling in a New York lawsuit against the Commerce Department on June 27, rejecting the Trump administration’s stated rationale for including the citizenship question, the Supreme Court said the U.S. Census Bureau cannot add it without further explanation.
Following the order, the Census Bureau started the process of printing the decennial questionnaires without the question on citizenship.
This was seen as a major political victory for the opposition Democratic party, which accused the Republicans of trying to manipulate the census results in their favor.
Civil right groups feared the citizenship question would be used to identify illegal immigrants.
A significant number of Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, Hispanics, Pacific Islanders and Alaska Natives are in the “Hard to Count” category.
However, President Trump was adamant on the issue, and asked the Departments of Commerce and Justice “to do whatever is necessary to bring this most vital of questions, and this very important case, to a successful conclusion.”
But in remarks at the White House Rose Garden Thursday, he announced the alternative measure, noting that the Supreme Court ruling would have produced even more litigation and considerable time delays.
Trump said he is ordering all federal government departments and agencies to provide the Department of Commerce with all requested records regarding the number of citizens and non-citizens in the country.
They must furnish all legally accessible records in their possession immediately.
Trump said these vast federal databases will be utilized to gain accurate count of the non-citizen population, including databases maintained by the Department of Homeland Security and the Social Security Administration.
The Census Bureau can use this information, along with information collected through the questionnaire, to create the official census.
Trump claimed that as a result of the 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”.
Attorney General Bill Barr rejected media reports suggesting that the administration has been planning to add the citizenship question to the census by “executive fiat” ignoring contrary court orders.
Mandatory by the Constitution, the U.S. Census is conducted every 10 years.
Personally identifiable information is private and cannot be released until 2092.
In 2020, the United States population is projected to be 333,546,000, an 8.03 percent increase from the 2010 Census.
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