In what amounts to a painful political defeat, members of the Trump administration have given up on plans to add questions regarding citizenship to the 2020 census questionnaire. The printing of forms without the question is expected to begin soon.
Despite cabinet members apparent admission of defeat, President Trump says he intends to include the most vital questions on the questionnaire.
Both the Justice Department and the White House have gone on record to say the quest to add the citizenship questions have ended. The decision was made following a June 27 ruling by the Supreme Court that placed fault on Trump’s administration for the initial attempt to add the question to the census process.
Wilbur Ross, the Secretary of Commerce, issued a statement expressing his disagreement with the Court’s ruling. He did, however, make it known he respects the members of the Supreme Court. Ross says the bureau is intent on a through census questionnaire but will not include any questions about citizenship.
The Supreme Court did not completely close the door on the possibility of the question being added. However, there is not sufficient time to prepare a new rationale to present to the court. It was originally determined by the government that the end of June was the deadline to agree on the details of the census questionnaire.
Trump informed his followers on Twitter that he would check into the possibility of delaying the census if it would result in the question being added.
Democrats and other critics of the citizenship question say it is a trick by the Republicans to deter immigrants from participating in the census process. This would result in underrepresentation in areas with a high number of immigrants that tend to favor the Democratic Party. Critics say this undercount would help the Republicans gain Congressional seats.
Dale Ho is an attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union. Ho says it is important that every individual is accounted for on the census. He says the decision by the Supreme Court has made that possible.
President Trump and his administration say the question is intended to protect the voting rights of racial minorities. Critics have expressed skepticism for the administration’s stated reason for the question. The Supreme Court decision indicates they may agree with the theory.
Questions of citizenship were last given to the entire population of America in 1950. In recent years, only a small percentage of the population had to answer these questions.