Tuesday, September 21, 2021

Trump may use executive order to include citizenship question in census

Washington, Jul 5 (EFE).- US President Donald Trump said Friday that he is thinking about including the controversial question about citizenship in the 2020 US census by executive order.

“We’re working on a lot of things, including an executive order,” Trump replied when asked about the matter by reporters at the White House, just before he left for Bedminster, New Jersey, to spend a weekend at one of his golf clubs.

The president said the idea of issuing an executive order to include the question in the census is one of the “four or five ways we can do it,” and which he is considering together with US Attorney General William Barr.

For example, “we can start the printing (of the census forms) now and maybe do an addendum after we get a positive decision,” he said.

The statement came two days after Trump promised to go ahead with his plans to include a question about citizenship in next year’s census questionnaire.

The president’s statement caused confusion because this Tuesday both the Justice Department and the Commerce Department, which is in charge of the census, announced they would begin to print the census forms without the citizenship question, following the Supreme Court’s ruling last week against the government’s intention to include it.

The high court ruled against including that question on the census form on grounds that the government did not give an adequate reason for doing so, but left the possibility open to study other arguments.

The decision irritated Trump enormously. He asked his lawyers if it would be possible to delay taking the census, a population count taken every 10 years and which was last taken in 2010.

The White House insisted that the question is fundamental to a better understanding of the composition of the country’s population, but the opposition and various organizations fear it will intimidate undocumented immigrants and diminish participation in this massive survey.

Areas that depend on the census include the distribution of federal funds, the drawing up of electoral districts for the US House of Representatives, and voters’ representation in the US Electoral College, whose members elect the president.

Revealed in recent weeks was a report by a GOP strategist, the late Thomas Hofeller, recommending that the question be included in the census to be able to redistrict the population base in a way that is “advantageous to Republicans and Non-Hispanic Whites.”