As speculation grew Thursday that President Donald Trump would announce an executive order at 5 p.m. directing the Census Bureau to include a question about citizenship in the 2020 survey, a new report from ABC News hours before the press conference said the White House would actually back down from this effort.
Trump plans to instruct the “Commerce Department to survey the American public on the question through other means,” foregoing a citizenship question on the 2020 Census, the report said.
The Supreme Court had in June blocked that department from adding a citizenship question to the Census, finding that the Commerce Secretary’s justification for doing so was a pretext. The president has nevertheless indicated that he still wanted to fight for the question’s inclusion.
Critics have objected to the citizenship question, arguing that it is a blatant attempt to discourage minority group response rates to the Census and therefore politically disempower regions that are dominated by Democrats and have a high population of Hispanic residents.