The Trump administration's plans for a census citizenship question are no longer.
The 2020 census questionnaire is officially on the printing presses, and there's no question of citizenship on its pages, an attorney for the Department of Justice told lawyers fighting the question on Tuesday. The official reveal comes after successive courts flip-flopped over whether the question was constitutional, and after the Supreme Court ruled against its inclusion last week.
Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross announced the question's inclusion early last year, launching a bevvy of court challenges to it. But even though the Supreme Court ruled the Trump administration's explanation for adding the question was insufficient, President Trump suggested he'd try to delay the census to leave room for further review. Now, an email from the DOJ confirms that won't happen.
Advocates claimed asking about citizenship would deter noncitizens from taking the census, depressing responses in traditionally Democratic areas and therefore reducing those regions' congressional representation. Evidence later surfaced showing a deceased GOP operative had found that including the question "would be advantageous to Republicans and non-Hispanic whites," and that he had shown his research to Trump officials. Still, the Trump administration argued it would help them enforce the Voting Rights Act — reasoning the Supreme Court said "appeared to be contrived" in its Thursday ruling.