Trump claims he still plans citizenship census question despite Supreme Court ruling it cannot be included

'We are absolutely moving forward, as we must, because of the importance of the answer to this question'

Clark Mindock
New York
Wednesday 03 July 2019 12:40 BST

Donald Trump has pledged to continue his fight to include a citizenship question on the 2020 Census, contradicting his own Justice Department with a promise that would blatantly disregard a Supreme Court ruling barring the question from the survey.

Mr Trump's pledge comes just a day after the Justice Department signalled that it would begin printing the survey without the citizenship question, which critics and the architect of the question itself had said would depress participation in the population count among minority communities. The Supreme Court last week ruled that the question could not be included.

"The News Reports about the Department of Commerce dropping its quest to put the Citizenship Question on the Census is incorrect or, to state it differently, FAKE!" Mr Trump tweeted. "We are absolutely moving forward, as we must, because of the importance of the answer to this question."

The statement contradicts news from the Justice Department on Tuesday, when department spokespeople confirmed that the printers had been told to start printing the 1.5 billion paper forms. The printing was originally slated to begin on Monday.

It is unclear what Mr Trump can do at this point in the process, after a ruling from the nation's highest court, and if the forms have already begun to be printed.

But, in a tweet as late as Tuesday night, the president had shown his distaste for the Supreme Court's ruling against him.

"A very sad time for American when the Supreme Court of the United States won't allow a question of 'Is this person a Citizen of the United States?" he tweeted. He then pledged to "do whatever is necessary to bring this most vital of questions, and this very important case, to a successful conclusion. USA! USA! USA!"

The addition of a citizenship question had been challenged by more than two dozen states, as well as cities and other groups claiming the question would suppress participation in the survey, which intends to take a count of both citizens and non-citizens living in the US alike.

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And the stakes are high: The Census is used for important redistricting operations in the US, and can have an important impact on the distribution of federal funds to communities across the country.

Congressman Elijah Cummings, the Democratic chairman of the House Oversight and Reform Committee, has announced that his committee will continue to investigate why the Trump administration wanted that question in the first place.

"The Trump Administration put our country through more than a year of wasted time and squandered resources—all in the service of an illegal attempt to add a discriminatory question based on a pretext," Mr Cummings said in a statement on Tuesday. "Now they need to direct all their attention to the nuts and bolts of putting on the Census next year."

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