President Trump is dropping his efforts to put a citizenship question on the 2020 Census and instead issuing an executive order requiring federal agencies to give data on non-citizens to the Department of Commerce. Speaking at a press conference on Thursday, Trump said this approach will eliminate “long-standing obstacles to data-sharing” and provide for a more accurate representation of the undocumented population. “We will leave no stone unturned,” Trump said.
The move follows weeks of conflicting messages from Trump and his administration regarding whether the question would make it to the 2020 form. The Trump administration told a federal judge last week it had made a “final” decision not to ask about citizenship in the 2020 Census, but Trump then tweeted the following day to claim that development was “FAKE!” and that his administration was “absolutely moving forward” with the question. The Justice Department then tried to ditch the lawyers representing the census case by replacing them with a new team, prompting a federal judge to block the move.