WASHINGTON — President Trump dropped his push to include a citizenship question on the 2020 census Thursday, but he still wants information about the citizenship status of U.S. residents.
Trump is turning to executive action to press the issue.
"We are not backing down on our effort to determine the citizenship status of the United States population," Trump said. "I am herby ordering every department and agency in the federal government to provide the Department of Commerce with all requested records regarding citizens and non citizens in our country."
Immigrant groups opposed to adding a citizenship question to census argue doing so will deter immigrants from participating in the count resulting in a loss in federal funds for areas with big immigrant populations.
"In a state like Illinois, we have a total number of people who aren’t citizens, they get counted for purposes of determining our electoral votes and determining how many representatives we have from the state," Legal commentator Renato Mariotti said. "If that’s changed to citizens, it’s gonna hurt states like ours. It will hurt states like Texas, and California and Arizona."
The constitution says the census should count all persons in the United States. President Trump wants to count all citizens.
Last month, the Supreme Court blocked the question, but Northwestern professional Ronald Allen says, the justices left President Trump with a lot of options.
"The Supreme Court did not hold that this was inappropriate question," Allen said. "The president has all kinds of authority to act through executive orders. There is a value to knowing what the distribution of citizens verses the entire population is."
President Trump is taking this path in part because he was running out of time. Census forms continued to be printed without the citizenship question.