A high-ranking Justice Department official is telling a federal judge that the Trump administration has not abandoned efforts to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census, even as the U.S. Census Bureau has started the process of printing the questionnaire without the controversial query.
Axios reported that Trump was considering issuing an executive order on including the question, citing a senior legal source. The judge then held a call with lawyers in the case after Trump's Wednesday announcement.
Furman and two other judges in California and Maryland have concluded that the question was improperly added to the census previous year by the Commerce Department without adequate consideration.
But the Justice Department indicated Wednesday it had been told to try to add a citizenship question to the census that fell within the parameters of U.S. District Judge George Hazel's ruling. "The Supreme Court of the United States has spoken, and Trump's own Commerce Department has spoken".
The White House and the Justice Department (DOJ) did not respond to requests for comment on the report.
Assistant Attorney General Joseph Hunt has now told a Maryland-based federal judge that the Department of Justice has been instructed to examine whether there is a path forward, consistent with the Supreme Court's decision, that would allow inclusion of the citizenship question on the Census.
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The Census Bureau had previously set a target date of early July to begin printing the questionnaire in order to have it prepared for delivery to the American public by the April 1 deadline. They say that officials lied about their motivations for adding the question and that the move would help Trump's fellow Republicans gain seats in the House and state legislatures when new electoral district boundaries are drawn. "Maybe you are suggesting that", he said, noting that perhaps the attorneys were asking him to require Census Bureau employees not to talk about the question potentially being added.
There are two main sides to the controversy - those who say the question will enforce and protect federal voting laws, and opponents who say it would lead to a substantial undercount, because an untold number of undocumented migrants would not participate. "The Supreme Court concluded that there was a "mismatch" between Wilbur's decision and his explanation for it", Ohlin said.
The government had asked the Supreme Court to rule on the census dispute by the end of June, so that it can finalize the census questionnaire and get the forms printed in time for distribution next year.
The Trump administration has faced a running conflict with Democratic lawmakers, advocacy groups and civil rights organisations regarding whether a question identifying citizenship will appear in the 2020 National Census questionnaire.
Bishop Vasquez said all people should be counted in the census, regardless of their citizenship and he said "proposed questions regarding immigration status will obstruct accurate census estimates and ultimately harm immigrant families and the communities they live in".
Lawyers for NY, immigrant advocacy groups and the House of Representatives stressed that the question would prevent noncitizens from filling out the census and have a negative financial and political impact on communities with large immigrant populations.