On Thursday evening, President Donald J. Trump announced that he would be issuing an executive order requiring every federal agency to furnish records relating to the number of citizens and noncitizens present in the country to the Commerce Department.
The President touched on the administration’s commitment to determining the citizenship makeup of those present in the United States despite recent roadblocks from the Supreme Court and pending litigation:
"Today I'm here to say we are not backing down in our effort to determine the citizenship status of the United States population," the president told reporters in the Rose Garden, after slamming "far-left Democrats" seeking to "conceal the number of illegal aliens in our midst."
"We will leave no stone unturned," Trump asserted. He called legal opposition to adding a citizenship question to the 2020 census "meritless," but said the ongoing judicial morass in several federal district courts made it logistically impossible to resolve the matter before the 2020 census forms needed to be printed.
President Trump was also joined by Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and Attorney General William Barr who addressed the crowd following the President’s remarks to further explain the administration’s rationale for abandoning the effort to add the citizenship question to the census:
“We’re not going to jeopardize our ability to carry out the census. So as a practical matter, the Supreme Court’s decision closed all paths,” adding that it was a “logistical” impediment, not a legal one.
In a statement to Fox News, DOJ spokesperson Kerri Kupec further expressed the Department’s support for the President’s new approach to collecting citizenship data:
Today’s Executive Order represents an alternative path to collecting the best citizenship data now available, which is vital for informed policymaking and numerous other reasons. Accordingly, the Department will promptly inform the courts that the Government will not include a citizenship question on the 2020 decennial census.
A transcript of the President's remarks is available here. It remains to be seen which specific data will be requested from the individual agencies and how the Trump administration will utilize the data.