Friday, July 12, 2019

No Question

Trump caved on the citizenship question on the 2020 census.

Trump announced in the Rose Garden that he was giving up on modifying the census two weeks after the Supreme Court rebuked his administration over its effort to do so. Just last week, Mr. Trump had insisted that his administration “must” pursue that goal.

“We are not backing down on our effort to determine the citizenship status of the United States population,” Mr. Trump said. But rather than carry on the fight over the census, he said he was issuing an executive order instructing federal departments and agencies to provide the Census Bureau with citizenship data from their “vast” databases immediately.

Even that order appears to merely reiterate plans the Commerce Department announced last year, making it less a new policy than a means of covering Mr. Trump’s retreat from the composition of the 2020 census form.

A frustrated-sounding Mr. Trump struck a sharply combative tone at the opening of his remarks, saying that his political opponents were “trying to erase the very existence of a very important word and a very important thing, citizenship.”

“The only people who are not proud to be citizens are the ones who are fighting us all the way about the word ‘citizen,’” he added.

The only reason he’s giving up is because there was no way he could come up with a justification for the question without sounding like a very bad imitation of Conrad Veidt as Major Strasser in Casablanca.  And, as Charlie Pierce notes, the only reason for the question in the first place was to intimidate immigrants, legal or otherwise, into not participating in the census next year, thereby reducing the population count in certain areas and skewing the reapportionment of congressional districts in favor of the Republicans.  That was their plan all along.

And it would have worked, too, were it not for those meddling courts and laws.