Trump to announce executive action on census citizenship question

President TrumpDonald John TrumpFederal prosecutor speaks out, says Barr 'has brought shame' on Justice Dept. Former Pence aide: White House staffers discussed Trump refusing to leave office Progressive group buys domain name of Trump's No. 1 Supreme Court pick MORE on Thursday plans to announce an executive action related to the census, according to a White House official.

The action is expected to address the citizenship question that the Supreme Court recently blocked the administration from adding to the 2020 census. Trump tweeted that he will hold a news conference in the afternoon “on the Census and Citizenship.”


White House officials declined to discuss the content of the executive action, but said it may not be a full-blown executive order.

Trump has hinted in recent days that he may use an executive order to force the inclusion of a citizenship question on census forms following the high court’s decision in late June.

But any executive action taken by Trump is likely to be met with another round of legal challenges.

The administration’s effort to add a citizenship question has been the subject of a months-long legal battle that has often caused confusion.

After the Supreme Court’s decision, Cabinet agencies announced they would move ahead with printing census forms without the question. The Commerce Department, which oversees the census, had said that printing must begin on July 1 for the decennial population survey to occur on schedule.

But those plans were scrapped after Trump suddenly declared he would not drop the fight and ordered the Justice Department to find a way to include the question.

“They're spending 15 [billion] to 20 billion dollars on a census,” Trump told reporters on Sunday. “They're asking everything except, ‘Are you a citizen of the United States?’ How ridiculous is that? So we are moving forward. We have a couple of avenues.”

Critics have said that the question could result in minorities and immigrant communities being undercounted, which could have wide ranging results for distribution of federal funds and the apportionment of congressional districts that depend on the census.

It is not clear how the executive action would satisfy legal concerns and result in the addition of the question in a timely manner.

Census Bureau officials have testified at trial that the printing process could be delayed until late October, but only “with exceptional effort and additional resources.” 

The battle over the census in two court cases is expected to drag on for weeks, if not months. Two separate federal judges have ruled in recent days that the Department of Justice cannot change lawyers as it seeks to appeal the case.