EDGEFIELD, S.C. (AP) — Attorney General William Barr said Monday he sees a way to legally require 2020 census respondents to declare whether or not they are citizens, despite a Supreme Court ruling that forbade asking the question.
In an interview with The Associated Press, Barr said the Trump administration will take action in the coming days that he believes will allow the government to add the controversial census query. Barr would not detail the plans, though a senior official said President Donald Trump is expected to issue a memorandum to the Commerce Department instructing it to include the question on census forms.
The Supreme Court recently blocked the question, at least temporarily, saying the administration’s justification “seems to have been contrived.” That was a blow to Trump, who has been pressing for the government to demand information about citizenship.
The U.S. Census Bureau’s experts have said requiring such information would discourage immigrants from participating in the survey and result in a less accurate count. That in turn would redistribute money and political power away from Democratic-led cities where immigrants tend to cluster to whiter, rural areas where Republicans do well.
Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Monday that Trump wants to add the demand for citizenship information because he wants to “make America white again.”
Meanwhile, the Justice Department is replacing the legal team that has been pursuing Trump’s efforts, putting in place a new team consisting of both career and politically appointed attorneys.
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