NATIONAL NEWS

Trump Says Officials Working On Holiday On Census Dispute

Jul 4, 2019, 6:18 AM | Updated: Jun 8, 2022, 5:04 pm
The Justice Department seal (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
(Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump said administration officials were working on Independence Day in hopes of finding a way to have the 2020 census include a citizenship question even though the government has begun the process of printing the questionnaire without it.

“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 the holiday.

Trump’s administration has faced numerous roadblocks to adding the question, including last week’s Supreme Court ruling that blocked its inclusion, at least temporarily. The Justice Department had insisted to the Supreme Court that it needed the matter resolved by the end of June because of a deadline to begin printing census forms and other materials.

But on Wednesday, department officials told a federal judge in Maryland they believed there could be a way to meet Trump’s demands.

“There may be a legally available path,” Assistant Attorney General Joseph Hunt told U.S. District Judge George Hazel during a conference call with parties to one of three census lawsuits. The call was closed to reporters; a transcript was made available soon after.

A department spokeswoman had confirmed on Tuesday that there would be “no citizenship question on the 2020 census” amid signs that the administration was ending the legal fight. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said in a statement that day that the “Census Bureau has started the process of printing the decennial questionnaires without the question.”

It was a Trump tweet on Wednesday — “We are absolutely moving forward” — that sowed enough confusion that Hazel and U.S. District Judge Jesse Furman, overseeing a census lawsuit in New York, demanded clarification.

“I don’t know how many federal judges have Twitter accounts, but I happen to be one of them, and I follow the President, and so I saw a tweet that directly contradicted the position” that a Justice Department lawyer took in a hearing Tuesday, Hazel said.

Fear and confusion among immigrants might just be the Republican president’s aim, a lawyer for opponents of the question said, because the Census Bureau’s own experts have said asking about citizenship would depress participation by immigrants and people who are in the country illegally.

“The President’s tweet has some of the same effects that the addition of the question would in the first place and some of the same effects on the 18-month battle that was just waged over the citizenship question,” Mexican-American Legal Defense Fund lawyer Denise Hulett said. “It leaves the immigrant communities to believe that the Government is still after information that could endanger them.”

In the short term, work on the census probably won’t be affected. The company with a $114 million contract to print census questionnaires had been instructed to start printing forms without the citizenship question.

Joshua Gardner, a second Justice Department lawyer on the conference call, confirmed that “the Census Bureau is continuing with the process of printing the questionnaire without a citizenship question, and that process has not stopped.”

Gardner, a 16-year Justice Department lawyer, said he was as surprised by Trump’s Wednesday tweet as anyone.

“The tweet this morning was the first I had heard of the President’s position on this issue, just like the plaintiffs and Your Honor,” he said. “I do not have a deeper understanding of what that means at this juncture other than what the President has tweeted.”

Hazel moved up to Friday from Monday a deadline for the government to stipulate that it is no longer seeking to put the question on the 2020 census. Otherwise, he said, he would move ahead with reopening the case to pursue a new issue. Opponents of the question say evidence from the computer files of a Republican redistricting consultant who died last year shows that discrimination against Hispanics was behind the push for the citizenship question.

That might be a separate basis for blocking the citizenship question.

The Trump administration had said the question was being added to aid in enforcement of the Voting Rights Act, which protects minority voters’ access to the ballot box. But in the Supreme Court’s decision last week, Chief Justice John Roberts joined the court’s four more liberal members in saying the administration’s current justification for the question “seems to have been contrived.”

Opponents of the citizenship question said it would result in inaccurate figures for a count that determines the distribution of some $675 billion in federal spending and how many congressional districts each state gets.

Even though the Census Bureau is relying on most respondents to answer the questionnaire by the internet next year, hundreds of millions of printed postcards and letters will be sent out next March reminding residents about the census, and those who don’t respond digitally will be mailed paper questionnaires.

___

Associated Press writers Michael Schneider in Orlando, Florida, and Larry Neumeister in New York contributed to this report.

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

National News

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has postponed his upcoming trip to China in response to the fl...
Jennifer Hansler, Kevin Liptak, Jeremy Herb, Kylie Atwood, Jim Sciutto and Oren Liebermann

Blinken postpones trip to Beijing after Chinese spy balloon spotted over US

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has postponed his trip to China in response to a suspected Chinese spy balloon.
1 day ago
An Iowa Alzheimer's care facility is facing a $10,000 fine after pronouncing a woman dead who was l...
Hannah Sarisohn

Residential care facility faces fine after woman pronounced dead found gasping for air in body bag

An Iowa Alzheimer's care facility is facing a $10,000 fine after pronouncing a woman dead who was later found alive when a funeral director unzipped her body bag, according to documents from the Iowa Department of Inspections and Appeals.
1 day ago
Three bodies found on Feb. 2 in the Detroit area are believed to be those of three rappers who have...
Joe Sutton and Emma Tucker

Bodies found in apartment identified as 3 Michigan rappers missing for almost 2 weeks, police say

Three bodies found in the Detroit area this week were identified by authorities Friday as those of three rappers who were missing for almost two weeks, according to Michigan State Police.
1 day ago
Tulare County Sheriff Mike Boudreaux speaks during a news conference Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2023, in Vis...
Associated Press

Authorities: 2 arrested in California shooting that killed 6

A California sheriff says two gang members suspected in the massacre of six people last month in central California have been arrested, one after a gunbattle.
1 day ago
Davion Irvin was arrested late Thursday night and charged with six counts of animal cruelty-non-liv...
Chris Boyette and Vivian Kuo

Suspect arrested in case of tamarin monkeys missing from Dallas Zoo, police say

A 24-year-old man has been arrested in Dallas and charged in connection with the suspected theft of a pair of emperor tamarin monkeys that were recovered unharmed this week in an abandoned home a day after they vanished from the Dallas Zoo, police said.
1 day ago
A suspected Chinese high altitude balloon floats over Billings, Montana, on February 1. (Larry Maye...
Oren Liebermann, Haley Britzky, Michael Conte and Nectar Gan, CNN

Pentagon tracking suspected Chinese spy balloon over the US

The U.S. is tracking a suspected Chinese high-altitude surveillance balloon over the continental United States, defense officials said on Thursday.
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

vintage photo of lighting showroom featuring chandeliers, lamps, wall lights and mirrors...
Lighting Design

History of Lighting Design | Over 25 Years of Providing Utah With the Latest Trends and Styles

Read about the history of Lighting Design, a family-owned and operated business that paved the way for the lighting industry in Utah.
Fiber Optical cables connected to an optic ports and Network cables connected to ethernet ports...
Brian Huston, CE and Anthony Perkins, BICSI

Why Every Business Needs a Structured Cabling System

A structured cabling system benefits businesses by giving you faster processing speeds and making your network more efficient and reliable.
notebook with password notes highlighted...
PC Laptops

How to Create Strong Passwords You Can Actually Remember

Learn how you can create strong passwords that are actually easy to remember! In a short time you can create new ones in seconds.
house with for rent sign posted...
Chase Harrington, president and COO of Entrata

Top 5 Reasons You May Want to Consider Apartment Life Over Owning a Home

There are many benefits of renting that can be overshadowed by the allure of buying a home. Here are five reasons why renting might be right for you.
Festive kitchen in Christmas decorations. Christmas dining room....
Lighting Design

6 Holiday Decor Trends to Try in 2022

We've rounded out the top 6 holiday decor trends for 2022 so you can be ahead of the game before you start shopping. 
Happy diverse college or university students are having fun on their graduation day...
BYU MBA at the Marriott School of Business

How to Choose What MBA Program is Right for You: Take this Quiz Before You Apply!

Wondering what MBA program is right for you? Take this quiz before you apply to see if it will help you meet your goals.
Trump Says Officials Working On Holiday On Census Dispute