Attorney General William Barr stated on Thursday, July 11, that the government cannot proceed with its legal fight to insert a citizenship question in the 2020 census form because of time constraints.

President Donald Trump abandoned his effort to insert a citizenship question into next year’s census.

While Barr insisted that the legal stance of the government is right on the merits, he said that continued litigation would severely disturb the census itself.

“The problem is that any new decision would be subject to immediate challenge as a new claim in the three ongoing district court cases,” Barr said. “In addition, there are injunctions currently in place that forbid adding the question. There is simply no way to litigate these issues and obtain relief from the current injunctions in time to implement any new decision without jeopardizing our ability to carry out the census itself, which we are not going to do,” according to the remarks at the White House.

“As a practical matter, the Supreme Court’s decision closed all paths to adding the question to the 2020 decennial census,” he added. “Put simply, the impediment was logistical, not legal. We simply cannot complete the litigation in time to carry out the census.”

President Trump said on Thursday that he would be signing an executive order directing every federal department and agency to provide the Commerce Department with all records pertaining to the number of citizens and noncitizens in the country.

“In my view, the government has ample justification to inquire about citizenship status on the census and could plainly provide rationales for doing so that would satisfy the Supreme Court,” Barr said. “There is thus no question that a new decision to add the question would ultimately survive legal review.”

Bar added, “Congratulations on today’s executive order, which will ensure that we finally have an accurate understanding of how many citizens and noncitizens live in our country.”

Administration officials hope that aggregate information on the number of citizens in the United States will provide complete information. However, Trade Secretary Wilbur Ross said that using the information does not give a full picture to the public. Approximately 90% of the population was matched to credible administrative records in the government’s possession in the 2010 census.

Reactions after Trump’s decision

House Minority Leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) commented, “For more than 150 years, this question has been there one way or another in a long form or a short form. I think the census only comes around once every 10 years, we ask numerous amount questions. I think this is data that we have a right to know & should know.”

Sen. John Barrasso: “I am supportive of having the citizenship question on the census.”

Video: President Trump takes executive action on the citizenship question

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