Stay up to date with notifications from The Independent

Notifications can be managed in browser preferences.

Trump administration will not include citizenship question on 2020 Census

White House admits defeat and orders census to be printed without controversial citizenship question

Chris Riotta
New York
Tuesday 02 July 2019 23:00 BST
Supreme Court blocks Trump administration from adding citizenship question to 2020 census

Donald Trump’s administration said on Tuesday it would not move forward with plans to include a citizenship question in the 2020 Census, after failing to meet its own deadline to start printing the paper forms and other mailings for the official nationwide head count.

In a statement sent to attorneys announcing the move, Kate Bailey, a lawyer representing the US Department of Justice, said: “We can confirm that the decision has been made to print the 2020 Decennial Census questionnaire without a citizenship question”.

“The printer has been instructed to begin the printing process,” she added.

The decision was immediately celebrated online by civil rights attorneys and activists who described it as a “huge victory for democracy.”

The move also appeared to fly in the face of threats launched from the Oval Office by Mr Trump on Monday, when the president said he wanted the government to find out who was “an illegal.”

I think it is very important to find out if somebody is a citizen as opposed to an illegal,” he said while telling reporters his administration was looking into delaying the census.

“It is a big difference to me between being a citizen of the United States and being an illegal," he added.

Mr Trump’s White House has argued the citizenship question is necessary in order to better enforce the Voting Rights Act of 1965 — a claim that has been frequently disputed by the president’s critics, immigration groups and constitutional experts alike.

According to federal law, the 2020 Census must be taken “as of the first day of April,” with plans for the headcount to begin in Alaska as early as January.

The president also said he was considering a delay in the census after the US Supreme Court ruled on Thursday against adding the citizenship question to the forms.

The court said his administration’s explanations for wanting to add the question was “more of a distraction” than an explanation.

Census forms are scheduled to be printed beginning this week.

A lower court previously found the administration violated federal law in the way it tried to add a question broadly asking about citizenship for the first time since 1950.

Support free-thinking journalism and attend Independent events

The Census Bureau’s own experts have predicted that millions of Hispanics and immigrants would go uncounted if the census asked everyone if he or she is an American citizen.

Additional reporting by AP

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in