The move had been planned as part of a crackdown on people living in America illegally. In June the Supreme Court blocked the inclusion of the question in the census. President Trump has instead said citizenship data will be acquired via an executive order applying to government agencies.
He commented: “We will leave no stone unturned.
“As a result of today’s executive order we will be able to ensure the 2020 census generates an accurate count of how many citizens, non-citizens and illegal aliens are in the United States of America.”
“Today I am here to say that we are not backing down on our effort to determine the citizenship status of the United States population.”
As a result of the executive order government agencies will be forced to hand over documents relating to citizenship.
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If Trump had pushed ahead with including the citizenship question in the census it could have been delayed by another court challenge.
The President made the announcement at the White House Rose Garden alongside Attorney General Bill Barr.
However Trump’s opponents claimed he had suffered a humiliating defeat.
Dale Ho, from the American Civil Liberty Union, said: “Trump’s attempt to weaponize the census ends not with a bang but a whimper.
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“Now he’s backing down and taking the option that he rejected more than a year ago.
“Trump may claim victory today, but this is nothing short of a total, humiliating defeat for him and his administration.”
Following the Supreme Court’s judgement in June the Justice Department said the census forms would be printed without the citizenship question.
However the next day Trump tweeted that these reports were “fake” claiming his administration was still trying to add the question to the 2020 forms.