The Trump administration will not add a citizenship question to the 2020 census.
The Trump administration admitted defeat Tuesday afternoon in its months-long fight to rig the 2020 census with a racist question about citizenship — which would have resulted in a massive undercount of millions of people, primarily black and Hispanic U.S. residents.
"We can confirm that the decision has been made to print the 2020 Decennial Census questionnaire without a citizenship question," a Department of Justice lawyer wrote in an email.
In late June, the Supreme Court blocked the latest attempt by the Trump administration to add the question, essentially accusing administration officials of lying about their reasoning for adding the question.
A Republican operative who played a key role in working on the question admitted in recently revealed documents that asking about citizenship "would clearly be a disadvantage to the Democrats" and "advantageous to Republicans and Non-Hispanic Whites."
A citizenship question would intimidate many immigrants and people of color out of responding, and undercounting these U.S. residents would indeed hurt Democrats and help Republicans and states with larger white populations. One consequence of an undercount, Washington Post reported, would be that California could have lost as many as three U.S. House seats.
After the Supreme Court ruling, Trump contemplated delaying the printing of the census forms in order to try again to add a citizenship question. Such a move could have violated the law, which mandates that the census count begin on April 1, 2020, and the U.S. Constitution, which mandates that the census be taken every 10 years.
But in the end, Trump backed down — resulting in a victory for the U.S. Constitution and for democracy.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.