President Trump said it would be “ridiculous” to conduct a census without asking people about their citizenship, weighing in Wednesday on a case now pending before the Supreme Court.
Mr. Trump’s comments came just hours after he asserted executive privilege to shield from Congress documents related to the decision to add the citizenship question into the 2020 census.
“I think it’s totally ridiculous that you should have a census without asking,” the president said.
The Trump administration last year announced it was adding the citizenship question into the 2020 count, citing a request by the Justice Department for better information to enforce voting rights laws.
Such a question was part of the full census up through 1950, and has been part of the census “long form” through 2000, and is still part of the annual American Community Survey now.
But Democrats say Mr. Trump’s decision to add it back into the full census is an attempt at political shenanigans.
“It has to be seen in the context — the context of an anti-immigrant policy coming out of this White House. And it’s designed to intimidate,” said Rep. Gerald Connolly, Virginia Democrat.
Citizenship question opponents say illegal immigrants and even some legal resident minorities may be afraid to answer the census, even though federal law prohibits nefarious use of census information.
Judges have ruled that a citizenship question itself is not illegal — but several federal courts have ruled the Trump administration cut too many corners in adding the question in for 2020.
The Supreme Court is now deciding the issue, with a ruling expected by the end of this month.
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