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Trump Administration Tells Court It Will Push Ahead With Efforts to Add Citizenship Question to Census

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Government lawyers say the Trump administration will continue its push to get a citizenship question on the 2020 census.

The Justice Department had until Friday afternoon to explain how it will find a legal basis to force the question on the census. The department said it will continue its efforts, though it’s unclear how it will do so, the Associated Press reports.

Lawyers confirmed the administration will go forward with getting a citizenship question on the 2020 census just hours after President Donald Trump said he was considering issuing an executive order to force the question’s addition.

“We’re thinking about doing that,” Trump told reporters at the White House Friday. “We have four or five ways we can do it. It’s one of the ways that we’re thinking about doing it very seriously.”

Trump suggested the question could be included as an addendum if it were approved later.

The Trump administration has argued that including a question on the census about citizenship status would help enforce the Voting Rights Act. Last week, the Supreme Court blocked the addition, saying that the justification to include the question seemed “contrived.” Experts have warned that including a citizenship question could lead to an inaccurate population count, particularly among undocumented immigrants who would opt out of answering the census.

Trump tweeted on Tuesday that the Supreme Court’s decision was “sad” and said he’d asked the Departments of Justice and Commerce to “do whatever is necessary” to bring the question to the census. On Wednesday, Trump denounced reports that his administration was backing down from the fight as “FAKE!”


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Write to Mahita Gajanan at mahita.gajanan@time.com