- The Washington Times - Monday, April 1, 2019

President Trump complained Monday about his struggles to get a question about citizenship added to the 2020 census, saying it would be a waste of money carrying out the count unless it includes that inquiry.

Mr. Trump aimed his anger at Democrats, though it’s the courts that have stopped him, ruling that his administration showed duplicity, cut legal corners and overall goofed on the issue.

“Can you believe that the Radical Left Democrats want to do our new and very important Census Report without the all important Citizenship Question,” the president said on Twitter. He added that he felt the report “would be meaningless.”

The decennial census hasn’t included a citizenship question in more than half a century.

The information controls about $675 billion in yearly federal spending and is central to making decisions about how to draw legislative district lines.

At a briefing to mark next year’s April 1 start date, Census Bureau Director Steven Dillingham declined to answer a question about the president’s tweet, saying “we really want to restrict our comments to talking about the great job we’re doing, where we are and how it’s going to help this nation.”

Mr. Trump has campaigned on asking about citizenship, and his administration has argued that having the question included on the full census will allow the Justice Department to make better cases against voting rights violations.

But opponents say that asking about citizenship will scare illegal immigrants and some legal residents — particularly Hispanics — from being willing to answer the census, thus skewing the count.

Two federal judges have sided with those complaints. The Supreme Court is scheduled to hear an appeal of one of those cases later this month.
Mr. Dillingham noted Monday that the census for the first time will allow people to respond online as well as telephone and mail. He pointed out that it will be easy to provide requested information and that the information will be secure and confidential.

“But probably the message we really want to emphasize is how important it is,” he said. “We now live in an information age where accurate data improves the quality of our lives and supports our thriving economy.”

⦁ This article is based in part on wire service reports.

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