President Trump, who spoke at the White House on Thursday, announced that he would "immediately" issue a decree to obtain a precise count of non-citizens and US citizens – a measure that Trump described as "much more precise". to rely on a question of citizenship in the 2020 census.
This decision would use "large" federal databases and allow for a free exchange of information between all federal agencies regarding the identity of those living in the country, Trump said.
"Today, I am here to say that we are not going backwards in our efforts to determine the citizenship status of the American people," the president told reporters at the Rose Garden, after criticizing the "Democrats Extreme left "seeking to" conceal the number of illegal aliens among us. "
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"We will not neglect anything," said Trump. He described the legal opposition to the addition of a question on citizenship to the 2020 census as "baseless", but said that the persistent judicial doldrums in several federal district courts made it impossible to solving the logistical problem before printing the 2020 census forms.
After hearing Trump, Attorney General Bill Barr said the information gathered through the decree could be helpful in determining the composition of the constituency and the distribution to Congress.
"This information will be used for countless purposes, for example, there is currently a dispute over whether illegal aliens may be included for distribution purposes, and we will study this issue," Barr said.
The census figures – which legally include illegal immigrants – were used to determine the distribution of seats in the House of Representatives for the next 10 years, the number of voters granted to each state of the constituency and the distribution of voters. $ 675 billion in federal spending.
The Census Bureau's own experts said that requiring citizenship information would discourage illegal immigrants from participating and result in a less accurate count. This, in turn, would redistribute money and political power to the abandonment of many cities run by Democrats where immigrants tend to regroup.
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Barr also agreed with Trump that last month's Supreme Court decision was an insurmountable – but not "legal" – logistical "obstacle" to the citizenship issue in the census. The government has already started the long and costly process of printing the census questionnaire without asking any questions.
In addition, Barr criticized the media that the White House would issue a decree to illegally force a citizenship issue in the census. "In the hysterical mode of the day," Barr said, the media speculated that Trump would simply add the question to the census unilaterally.
"This has never been in the study," Barr said.
Many Democrats quickly called the president's gesture "retirement" and condemned the press conference. Others have promised to consider challenging the executive order in court.
"President Trump is so determined to intimidate communities of color that even when the courts and the rule of law frustrate him, he is still trying to remain persistent," said Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer, DN.Y. declaration. "The president's retreat on the addition of the misplaced citizen issue to the census was long overdue and represents an important victory for democracy and equitable representation.Everyone must be counted and no one should be intimidated by the president. and his capricious behavior. "
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Trump had stressed his exasperation about the situation earlier in the day at a White House conference on Conservative censorship on social networks.
"We spent $ 20 billion on a census," Trump told participants. "They go through houses, they go up, they ring the bell, they talk to people, how many toilets do they have, how many offices do they have, how many beds, what is their roof made of? can not you ask, are you a citizen of the United States? Is not it the craziest thing? "
Kerri Kupec, spokesperson for the DOJ, told Fox News that Trump's "alternative path" ended the legal battle over the issue of citizenship.
"The Supreme Court found that Secretary Ross concluded that the inclusion of the citizenship issue in the 2020 decennial census would provide the most complete and accurate citizenship information, but invalidated its decision to Include this issue for other reasons, "Kupec said.
She added: "The Ministry of Justice disagrees with the Supreme Court's decision today's decree is an alternative way of collecting the best citizenship data currently available, which is essential. For informed decision-making and many other reasons, the ministry will quickly inform the courts that the government will not include a citizenship issue in the decennial 2020 census. "
Kristen Clarke, executive director and chair of the Committee of Lawyers for Civil Rights under the law, who challenged the citizenship issue in court, told Fox News that she was "deeply concerned by the continuing pursuit of Citizenship proceedings by the administration concerning what appears to be abusive, discriminatory and unconstitutional practices ".
"There was simply no solid legal basis that would have allowed President Trump to bypass the Supreme Court ruling blocking the citizenship issue in the census," Clarke said. "In prolonging this battle, the administration has wreaked havoc and confusion. (…) We will use all the tools in our arsenal to control the administration if its executive action violates constitutional rights or is legally protected . "
The president had said last week that he was considering "very seriously" a decree in order to force the inclusion of the issue of citizenship.
Earlier Thursday, ABC News had first announced that Trump would "abandon" its efforts to add a citizenship issue to the 2020 census, but instead would "take action that would order the Commerce Department to obtain a estimation of US citizenship by other means. "
Several sources have confirmed this information to Fox News.
The Trump administration faced many obstacles to adding the issue, starting with the Supreme Court's decision that temporarily barred its inclusion on the grounds that the government's justification was inadequate. The court disputed this reasoning as the Department of Justice wanted the issue to be better enforced by the Voting Rights Act.
Chief Justice John Roberts joined the other four Liberal members of the Supreme Court in last month's decision and was openly skeptical of this justification.
A federal judge also dismissed Wednesday the Justice Department's plan to replace the legal team that was fighting for inclusion one day after another federal judge in Manhattan made a similar decision , claiming that the government could not replace nine lawyers so late in the conflict without satisfactorily explaining why.
The Trump administration had given contradictory signals on the subject: it was initially planning to print the census forms without the question of citizenship, and then to renew the incentive to include it.
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Trump gave several explanations as to why he thought the question was necessary to be included in the count of the population once a decade.
"You need it for the Congress, for the districts, you need it for the credits, where are the funds going, how many are there, are they citizens, are not they citizens? need for many reasons, "he told reporters last week.
Bill Mears, John Roberts, Mike Emanuel, Ronn Blitzer and Fox News Associated Press contributed to this report.