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2020 Census forms to be printed without citizenship question

Published: Wednesday, July 03, 2019 @ 3:00 AM

Days after the U.S. Supreme Court blocked President Donald Trump from adding a citizenship question to the 2020 Census because of what the Chief Justice labeled "contrived" arguments by the Secretary of Commerce, the Trump Administration backed down on the issue, telling a federal judge that the census forms would be printed without the citizenship query.

"We can confirm that the decision has been made to print the 2020 Decennial Census questionnaire without a citizenship question," said attorney Kate Bailey of the U.S. Department of Justice.

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"The Trump administration’s politically-motivated efforts to undermine the Constitution in this instance were so reprehensible that even the conservative Supreme Court couldn’t let them get away with it," said Senate Democratic Leader Charles Schumer, as Democrats celebrated the news.

"A correct Census count of everyone present in the country is essential to ensuring our communities receive the federal funds we need for countless critical programs," said Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard.

"It is critical that we get an accurate count of everyone in our country, and I hope that everyone will participate," said Rep. Jim Cooper (D-TN).

In Congress, some Republicans said the move to print the Census now was a mistake.

"It's the lawyers advising him," said Rep. Chip Roy (R-TX), who said the President should ignore their advice.

"Print the census with the question - and issue a statement explaining why," Roy tweeted.

On Monday, Mr. Trump had said he was trying to find ways to still add the question.

"You go through all this detail and you're not allowed to ask whether or not somebody is a citizen?" the President said to reporters in the Oval Office. "So you can ask other things, but you can't ask whether or not somebody is a citizen?"

Many legal experts thought that the Supreme Court had actually left the door open for the Trump Administration to get their arguments in order, and then put the citizenship question on the Census. 

But that wasn't the final choice made by the Justice Department.

In that decision, Chief Justice John Roberts all but called Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross a liar, saying the underlying facts on how the administration tried to add the Census question did not line up with the explanation offered by the Secretary.

"Altogether, the evidence tells a story that does not match the Secretary’s explanation for his decision," Roberts wrote, as Democrats have accused Ross of lying to Congress about the matter as well.

The citizenship question has not been on the decennial census form since 1950.

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