Trump Backs Off Census Fight, Orders Agencies To Share Data On Citizenship Status | 7/11/2019 | Staff
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President Trump, flanked by Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross (left) and Attorney General William Barr, delivers remarks on citizenship and the census in the Rose Garden at the White House on Thursday.

President Trump announced Thursday he would sign an executive order to obtain data about the U.S. citizenship and noncitizenship status of everyone living in the United States.

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In a Rose Garden ceremony, Trump said he would drop efforts to include a citizenship question on the 2020 census. Instead, his executive order will direct all U.S. agencies to provide the Department of Commerce all information they have on U.S. citizenship, noncitizenship and immigration status.

"We have great knowledge in many of our agencies," Trump said, flanked by Attorney General William Barr and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross. "We will leave no stone unturned."

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The executive order marks the administration's latest effort to obtain the information despite a ruling from the U.S. Supreme Court that bars the administration from including the question on the 2020 census for now.

It's not clear what impact the executive order will have. Ross, who oversees the Census Bureau, has already directed the bureau to enter into special agreements with the Social Security Administration and Department of Homeland Security to compile existing government records on citizenship.

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The question the administration had wanted to include was, "Is this person a citizen of the United States?"

Justice Department and Commerce Department officials have said that printing has started for paper forms that do not include the question.

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Last month, the Supreme Court blocked the citizenship question from the census for now. A majority of the justices rejected the administration's original stated justification — to better protect the voting rights of racial minorities — for appearing "contrived." Ross formally approved adding the question last year after pressuring Commerce officials for months to find a way to include...
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