Trump Concedes Partial Defeat on Census Citizenship Question

(AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

Opponents of adding a question to the 2020 census that would count the number of citizens in the U.S. have won a partial victory as Donald Trump has backed down on the idea. Instead, the president issued an executive order directing the Commerce Department to gather information on citizenship through other means.


Trump insisted during a Rose Garden appearance that he was not quitting in his efforts to count U.S. citizens.


“We are not backing down on our effort to determine the citizenship status of the US population,” Trump said in laying out a plan to issue an executive order asking US departments and agencies to find ways to determine a head-count of citizens.

Trump said agencies would be required to provide the Commerce Department with documents and records of citizens and non-citizens, which he said would help provide an accurate picture of US citizenship.

After a week of uncertainty about his next move. Trump tweeted Thursday morning he would be holding a press conference in the Rose Garden in the afternoon about “the census and citizenship.”

Last month, the Supreme Court ruled the citizenship question could not be added to the 2020 census. Writing for the 5-4 majority, Chief Justice John Roberts said, “If judicial review is to be more than an empty ritual, it must demand something better than the explanation offered for the action taken in this case,” Roberts wrote.

That may be, but what about the rationale used by opponents of the citizenship question?

Adding the question, critics say, could result in minorities being undercounted by scaring off even legal residents or naturalized citizens from completing the decennial questionnaire, which is also used to determine funding for an array of government programs.


“Scared off”? Really? Who says? What series of metrics or evidence of any kind is there that anyone would be “scared off” in completing a census form? The government would have no chance whatsoever of determining who is and who isn’t a citizen, or even who was in the country legally or illegally.

In essence, the Supreme Court is allowing the unwarranted paranoia of ignorant residents to dictate government policy.


At any rate, Trump backed down and will now try to use government agencies and departments to gather as much information as they can about how many citizens reside in the U.S. How successful they will be remains to be seen. But it’s clear that there is a powerful lobby of liberal groups who don’t want the government to know how many citizens are in the U.S. For what purpose is a mystery.


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