Trump considers executive order to force citizenship question in 2020 census

Opponents of much debated question concerned migrants in America will not participate out of fear

Victoria Gagliardo-Silver
New York
Friday 05 July 2019 20:20 BST
Trump administration branded 'uniquely dysfunctional' by Sir Kim Darroch
Trump administration branded 'uniquely dysfunctional' by Sir Kim Darroch (EPA)

Donald Trump is “very seriously” considering an executive order to mandate a citizenship question as part of the 2020 census.

Speaking to reporters as he left the White House for a weekend in New Jersey on Friday, the American president said the idea was one of four or five options he was considering on the matter.

The Trump Administration has been searching for an avenue to add the citizenship question to the census, but the Supreme Court blocked the effort last week.

The bench voted 5-4, with chief justice John Roberts noting the administration’s justification for the question “seems to have been contrived”.

Despite commerce secretary Wilbur Ross, who oversees the census, saying the administration was abandoning the citizenship question and printing the census without it, Mr Trump declared he would push on with the effort, AP reported.

An executive order would not override the Supreme Court ruling, but may potentially provide another reason for administration lawyers to argue why the question should be included.

“Executive orders do not override decisions of the Supreme Court,” said Thomas Saenz, president and general counsel of the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF), in a statement.

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Mr Trump tweeted on Thursday: “So important for our Country that the very simple and basic ‘Are you a citizen of the United States?’ question be allowed to be asked in the 2020 Census.”

He continued, noting that efforts were ongoing to add the question: “Department of Commerce and the Department of Justice are working very hard on this, even on the 4th of July!”

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