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Trump administration says to pursue citizenship question in census

WAHINGTON: The Trump administration has vowed to pursue a way of adding a citizenship question to the census.

This was stated in court filings submitted by lawyers. But administration lawyers failed to provide any legal justification for the census question by a court deadline.

The Supreme Court rejected the initial rationale for adding the question to the 2020 census as “contrived”.

The question is controversial because critics believe it will discourage immigrants from taking part.

They say that lower participation by immigrants could lead to an undercount of populations in Democratic districts, benefiting President Donald Trump’s Republican Party and altering how congressional seats are allocated and billions of dollars of federal funds distributed in those districts.

The Trump administration said it wanted to ask about citizennship to better enforce a law that protects the voting rights of minorities, but the Supreme Court dismissed that justification.

It appeared settled when government lawyers indicated they had dropped the question, and officials began printing the census without it.

That reportedly infuriated President Trump, who announced that his administration would pursue the issue.

But a deadline of 14:00 (18:00 GMT) on Friday set by a Maryland district judge came and went, with no clear indication from the administration on how they planned to add the citizenship question.

Government lawyers said only that the justice and commerce departments had been “instructed to examine whether there is a path forward”.

President Trump said on Friday an executive order was among the options he was considering to force the question on to the census.