“A very sad time for America when the Supreme Court of the United States won’t allow a question of ‘Is this person a Citizen of the United States?’ to be asked on the #2020 Census!” the president wrote on Twitter. He added that he had asked his officials to “do whatever is necessary” to bring the citizenship question to a “successful conclusion” in the future.
Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, who oversees the U.S. Census Bureau, said he had decided to add the citizenship question in 2018 against the advisement of other bureau officials. The move prompted outcry from immigrant and civil rights groups who argued that adding the question could lead to underreporting among minority and immigrant populations, with potentially harmful consequences.
The Trump administration claimed the query was necessary to better enforce the Voting Rights Act, and the issue ultimately went to court.
The Supreme Court last week ruled that officials had failed to adequately explain the question’s necessity on the census. The justices sent the case back to a lower court, but the government said it faced a July 1 deadline to send the census forms to the printer.
Trump initially said he had instructed government lawyers to look into delaying the census. But on Tuesday, the administration officially announced there would not be a question about citizenship on the 2020 census.
“We can confirm that the decision has been made to print the 2020 Decennial Census questionnaire without a citizenship question, and that the printer has been instructed to begin the printing process,” Kate Bailey, a Justice Department attorney, wrote to lawyers for the plaintiffs who had challenged the addition of the question.
Ross also said the census forms had gone to the printer without the addition of a citizenship question but noted that he “strongly” disagreed with the Supreme Court’s ruling.