Just days ago, the U.S. Supreme Court halted the addition of a citizenship question to the 2020 Census. Now President Donald Trump says officials worked on Independence Day to find a way to include the question—even though the U.S. Census Bureau has begun the process of printing its questionnaire without it.
The U.S. census is taken every 10 years. The count determines where some $675 billion in federal spending goes—and how many congressional districts each state gets. (For more information on the census, read “Protecting the U.S. Census.”)
Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross says he respects the Supreme Court’s decision—but strongly disagrees with it. However, he maintains, “My focus, and that of the Bureau and the entire Department is to conduct a complete and accurate census.”
Census Bureau officials believe most respondents will answer the questionnaire by Internet next year. Still, hundreds of millions of postcards and letters will go out next March reminding residents about the census. Those who don’t respond online will be mailed paper questionnaires.
“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,” Trump said in his first tweet of yesterday’s holiday.
Opponents of the citizenship question say it would discourage input from immigrants and others in the country illegally.
Democratic mayors and governors opposed to the question worried they’d get less federal money and fewer representatives in Congress if the question was asked. They thought it would discourage the participation of minorities, primarily Hispanics, who tend to support Democrats.
Top congressional Democrats hailed the news that the census documents are being printed. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called it “a welcome development for our democracy,” while Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer promised his party “will be watching the Trump administration like a hawk to ensure there is no wrong-doing throughout this process and that every single person is counted.”
(Demonstrators gather at the Supreme Court as the justices finish the term with key decisions on a census case involving a question about citizenship. AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)