Trump expected to announce executive action on adding citizenship question to census

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President Donald Trump listens to South Korean President Moon Jae-in speak during a meeting in the Oval Office of the White House, Thursday, April 11, 2019, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

(AP) — President Donald Trump announced early Wednesday that he would hold a news conference in the afternoon related to “the Census and Citizenship.”

The announcement comes as the president has been weighing options for how to add a controversial citizenship question to the 2020 census, even after the Supreme Court rejected the administration’s stated rationale for doing so as “contrived.”

A senior administration official told ABC News the president is expected to announce an executive action to move forward with adding the controversial question to the census.

While the Justice Department had initially accepted the Supreme Court’s ruling and signaled the administration would no longer pursue the citizenship question for the 2020 census, the administration abruptly changed course after the president said that the administration was “absolutely moving forward, as we must, because of the importance of the answer to this question.”

Legal experts have said the president doesn’t have the constitutional power to unilaterally add a citizenship question, pointing to Article 1, Section II of the Constitution, which grants Congress the authority to conduct and oversee the census. Title 13 of the U.S. Code delegated that authority to the Commerce Department but outlines specific procedures they have to follow under law, like the date that the census must be delivered.

Critics of the administration’s effort to add a citizenship question argue that the question would lead to high non-participation rates among immigrant communities and result in under-counting the U.S. population, particularly in communities with large immigrant populations.

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