July 11 (UPI) — President Donald Trump on Thursday backed away from asking a question about citizenship on the 2020 census, but instead directed agencies to provide data on non-citizens to the Census Bureau.
He signed an executive order instructing the Commerce Department to obtain the information after facing legal challenges to asking census-takers whether they’re U.S. citizens.
“We’re not backing down on our effort to determine the citizenship status of the U.S. population,” Trump said during remarks in the Rose Garden.
The Supreme Court said last week the administration did not provide adequate grounds for adding the question and called the government’s argument “contrived.” The Census Bureau has since begun printing the questionnaires without the inquiry about U.S. citizenship.
Two federal judges have also blocked administration efforts to change Justice Department attorneys who had been fighting in court for the question’s inclusion.
The Justice Department initially said the fight to add the question was over, before Trump intervened and said he wouldn’t give up the fight.
The American Civil Liberties Union challenged the question in both New York federal court and the U.S. Supreme Court.
ACLU Voting Rights Project head Dale Ho hailed Trump’s announcement.
“It’s official. There will be NO citizenship question on the 2020 census. It’s over. We won,” he tweeted.