Trump Administration

No Citizenship Question on 2020 Census as Trump Backs Down

Instead, the president signed an executive order directing government agencies to sift through documents and databases to determine Americans' citizenship status.

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President Donald Trump is dropping his quixotic effort to ask Americans about their immigration status during next year's Census, but his administration's efforts to identify illegal immigrants will continue.

In place of the Census question, Trump says he will issue an executive order instructing government agencies to sift through existing databases and documents to determine residents' immigration status. "We will leave no stone unturned," Trump said during a press conference in the White House's rose garden on Thursday evening. "I am here to say we are not backing down on our effort to determine the citizenship status of the United States population."

But the administration is backing down from an 18-months-long legal battle to include that question on Census forms—a fight that even many conservatives have suggested was an error from the outset. The Supreme Court ruled last month that the justification for adding the citizenship question to the census—Trump administration lawyers claimed it was needed to obtain data so the Voting Rights Act could be appropriately enforced—was "contrived" and "pretextual."

That kicked off a chaotic two weeks. Justice Department lawyers agreed on July 2 to drop the matter. Trump tweeted on July 3 that he told the Justice Department to keep fighting. A judge hauled those lawyers into a bizarre conference call where it was suggested they could not accurately represent their client, the president. (The lawyers claimed they did not know Trump was going to contradict them via tweet, which is probably accurate.) Those same lawyers were substituted for others who backed the president. The substitution was blocked by a different judge. Trump fumed on Twitter. Trump said he would issue an executive order putting the citizenship question on the Census anyway. And finally, Trump stood outside the White House admitting defeat.

What does it all mean? Perhaps most importantly, it means the Census will be more accurate than it likely would have been if the citizenship question was included. One does not need to play 17-dimensional chess to realize that many illegal immigrants would be unlikely to answer the decennial survey honestly—or, for that matter, at all—if that meant giving their home address and other personal information to a hostile administration. An inaccurate Census would have numerous unintended consequences, from altering how congressional seats are apportioned to determining how federal funds are allocated.

It's also another indication of how Trump's rhetoric and his administration's bumbling of basic policy has undermined the president's goals. As Reason's Jacob Sullum has explained on several occasions, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross is largely to blame for Chief Justice John Roberts' decision to sink the citizenship question by siding with the Supreme Court's four liberal justices. And Ross was tasked with creating a legal rationale for the citizenship question because a Republican gerrymandering expert thought deliberately undercounting immigrant households would help the GOP win future elections. Not that the administration could say that in court, of course.

The president will follow the rule of law and allow the Census to happen without a citizenship question. That's good news. It's also good news to see, yet again, the institutional checks and balances of government prevent Trump from carrying out a plot to turn the census into a political event.

And all it took was a year-and-a-half-long circus.

"Count it as a win for reality," said Michael Waldman, president of the Brennan Center for Justice, a nonpartisan group that had opposed the inclusion of the citizenship question on the census. "The Trump administration should focus on its real job: ensuring a full, fair, and accurate count of everyone in the nation."

NEXT: Relax, the Dominican Republic Hasn't Become Less Safe for Americans

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  1. But Mexico is still paying for this, right?

    1. I have been assured that illegal Mexican immigrants pay more in US taxes than they receive in benefits, so Mexico is paying for the wall and the Census.

      Thanks Mexico!

      1. Yes, all dignified and self-respecting native-born Americans LOVE the fact that THEY were born on the RIGHT side of the border, and that the illegal sub-humanoids were born on the WRONG side of the border, so they (subhumans) should pay and pay and PAY for OUR benefits, while THEY do NOT get the bennies of the taxes that THEY pay in!!! It’s only right!

        See “The Truth About Undocumented Immigrants and Taxes” (in quotes) in your Google search window will take you straight there, hit number one… AKA http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2016/09/undocumented-immigrants-and-taxes/499604/ For details about us natives mooching off of the taxes of the illegal sub-humans…

        1. Squirrely, you are one worthless hunk of shit. Your owner should take you to the vet and have you out down.

        2. Isn’t that the deal they signed on for? No one is making them come here.

        3. You seem rather racist against those south of the border.

          Very naughty!

        4. Yes, all dignified and self-respecting native-born Americans LOVE the fact that THEY were born on the RIGHT side of the border, and that the illegal sub-humanoids were born on the WRONG side of the border,

          I was born on “the wrong side of the border”. It took me two decades to immigrate to the US, having to leave a couple of times during the process, and having to prove to the US that my presence would be a large net economic benefit to the US. There is nothing wrong with that: countries exist for the benefits of their citizens and nobody has a right to immigrate anywhere.

          so they [racist language deleted] should pay and pay and PAY for OUR benefits, while THEY do NOT get the bennies of the taxes that THEY pay in!!! It’s only right!

          They are here illegally. Their payments to the SSA are part of the fraud they are committing on the US government, often committing identity theft in the process, and that is part of their scheme to hide their illegal activities. It is absurd for you to argue that they should derive any benefits from their fraud and deception.

    2. The premise of the argument is wrong. It’s perfectly legal to be a noncitizen living in the US. You just need a visa or green card. End of story. Anyone who thinks answering this citizenship question is admission of guilt is uninformed and anyone promoting this idea is dishonest. The court could very well have told he WH to include the question and run an education program on this topic.

      1. Why the hell would a noncitizen or resident alien have to fill out a census form?
        I know here in Canada or the UK it’s not the case.

        1. Judicial argument if apportionment of electors includes residents that are non citizens. The 14th amendment requires knowledge of number of citizens so hope DoJ pursues the theory to force all future censuses to require.the question.

          1. Has there been a legal ruling on “resident”?

        2. Why? Because the US Constitution says to count all residents. Period.

          Not citizens. Residents. Doesn’t matter if they’re legal, illegal, permanent, or temporary. The US Constitution says so. The only exception are American Indians.

          And the reason for this is clear. Representation is by population. Only citizens can vote, but the elected legislator represents all people in his district.

          It’s in the Constitution.

          1. The most hilarious part of this entire discussion was to see the “strict constructionists”, “originalist” Constitutional scholars here at the Reason comment forums try to mind-read the dead Founding Fathers to try to claim “oh, they could never have imagined using the Census to count *everyone*, it isn’t at all what they intended…”

            1. You don’t need to “mind read”, you can simply look at the history to get at the original intent and meaning of the Constitution.

          2. Not citizens. Residents. Doesn’t matter if they’re legal, illegal, permanent, or temporary. The US Constitution says so. The only exception are American Indians.

            The 14th Amendment says that the Census should count “the whole number of persons in each State”. That already excludes tourists and diplomatic personnel.

            And for the same reasons those people are not considered “persons in a State”, asylum seekers, temporary workers, and people who entered illegally shouldn’t be considered “persons in a State” either.

          3. Please explain the substantive differences between illegal aliens and “Indians not taxed”

      2. “Anyone who thinks answering this citizenship question is admission of guilt is uninformed and anyone promoting this idea is dishonest.”

        Honesty is a social construct of the white supremacist cisheteropatriarchy used to oppress marginalized peoples.

    3. ITT, Tony stupidly busts out his lame fucking sockpuppet, and doesn’t realize he’s too fucking stupid to not make it obvious.

      H iEsmeralda!!

  2. But the administration is backing down from an 18-months-long legal battle to include that question on census forms—a fight that even many conservatives have suggested was an error from the outset. The Supreme Court ruled last month that the justification for adding the citizenship question to the census—Trump administration lawyers claimed it was needed to obtain data so the Voting Rights Act could be appropriately enforced—was “contrived” and “pretextual.”

    The SCOTUS majority did say that the federal government has wide latitude to ask quesitons on the Census, including citizenship.

    I cant wait for Boehm to flip out when Census takers ask persons if they are citizens, even though its not on the Census form.

    I think that I am volunteering this year to survey for the Census just so I can ask that question.

    1. Let’s see how you feel when a D president puts a “weapons” question on the 2030 census.

      1. What “weapons” question? If you mean about gun ownership, I would never answer that question. Not run away from Census takers.

        The Democrat Party is finished. Not likely we will see a Democrat President ever again.

        1. If you mean about gun ownership, I would never answer that question.

          So you’d break the law then, Mr. Rule Of Law?

          1. I ACCEPT the consequences, Mr. Dipshit.

            That is what Amerians who don’t want to abide by constitututional laws they find objectionable do. They accept the consequences. Questions for a Census (including asking whether you are an American citizen) are constitutional.

            If the law is not constitutional then the government is wrong to have that law and any consequences of an unconstitutional law are bullshit anyway. Which is what jury nullification is for.

            1. So your response is, if a future Democrat administration put a question on the Census along the lines of, “are there any guns in the household”, you would find such a question perfectly Constitutional, perfectly within the bounds of the law, you would have no problems with this question and you would dutifully obey this law and tell the state how many guns are in your house, full well knowing that this information would, more than likely, be turned into a national gun registry.

              Is that about right?

              1. No, that is, as usual, your imagination and psychotic misinterpretation

              2. 1) IMO, there wont be a Democrat president ever again.
                2) I dont answer any of the Census questions except number in household.
                3) if the government wants to arrest me for that, I would demand a speedy jury trial faster than theDOJ ink would dry.

    2. “I think that I am volunteering this year to survey for the Census just so I can ask that question.”

      I like the cut of your jib.

      1. +1

  3. Hey Boehm, are you going to do another article on the Dow Jones?

    It just passed 27,000 points, a new record!

    Haha. You are such a hack writer.

    1. I don’t know where you get your info. Is it Faux News?

      The fact is, we’re in what Nobel Prize winning economist Paul Krugman describes as a global recession with no end in sight. And things are so bad, even a low unemployment rate means people are working two or three jobs just to survive.

      This era of economic ruin will not end until a Democratic White House reverses the tariffs and implements the Koch / Reason open borders agenda.

      #DrumpfRecession

  4. Answers to census questions are anonymized by law. The results of sifting through existing databases are not. So this result may be worse for the undocumented than keeping the citizenship question would have been, if the administration sees one as a substitute for the other.

    1. Answers to census questions are anonymized by law.

      Reminder:

      https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/census-bureau-japanese-americans/

      1. So you are seriously arguing that the US government should not have the ability to determine the citizenship of every person on US soil?

        If that’s your position, you simply want to abolish all US border protection and abolish the US as a nation state altogether. Is that your objective?

        1. It seems to be

  5. Pyrrhic victory for the open borders crowd.

    1. Strictly principled libertarians?

      Can’t think of anyone else who advocates open borders.

      1. Well you’re fucking stupid, no one is surprised you don’t know what your fellow leftists want.

        1. You mean what you think they want because Sean Hannity shits into your ears every day.

          1. Actually Tony, former Obama Administration official Jeh Johnson has said many Democrats are effectively advocating open borders. Of course he implied this was a bad thing. So it’s disappointing to learn a literal white nationalist served in the previous administration.

            But the fact remains — the Democratic Party is rapidly moving toward the Koch / Reason position on immigration. With the election still over a year away, I remain confident in my prediction that the 2020 nominee will explicitly call for open borders.

            #VoteDemocratForOpenBorders
            #AbolishConcentrationCamps

          2. You’ve been using that tired ass line for a decade bitch.

          3. Hey faggot, did you know that your pals Corey Booker and Kamala Harris are campaigning in Mexico? Yeah, your pals love open borders and importing as many de facto voters as they need to cling to power.

            You really are a stupid piece of shit Tony.

  6. I think it’s funny people think the government is going to correctly count and manage all of this information, regardless of one additional question

  7. Oh hey, it’s another steaming pile of Dem-service from “MARKETS IMPLODING!!!” Boehm.

  8. I googled it. It’s 7% noncitizens.

    What a bunch of hullabaloo over something you could just fucking google.

    1. “I googled it. It’s 7% noncitizens.”

      Ahahaha he thinks Google is accurate on this!!!

      “What a bunch of hullabaloo over something you could just fucking google.”

      Ahahahahaha OMFG he just doubled down ahahahahaja

      1. Adjust your meds and/or meth intake.

        1. Ahahahah he still thinks Google is accurate on this ahahahahahhah

        2. Tony you really do belong face down, in a landfill.

          1. That’s big talk from an irrelevant bigot who has spent his entire lifetime losing the culture war and consequently must spend all of his days complying obsequiously with rules established against his preferences and by his betters.

            Open wider, clinger. More liberal-libertarian mainstream progress on the way. And toe that line.

  9. I am close to open borders but don’t see how it makes much difference.

    The press is playing this out as an administrative fumble. He could have got the question but they botched the play. The effort was uncoordinated. They failed to develop a coherent reason for the question.

    I don’t know if the real reason was gerrymandering or just because Trump wants it there. All they needed to do was come up with something better.

    1. One thing Trump is know for is giving up.

      1. Well it works in business. Ask for a high selling price and if the deal isn’t going walk away. International politics is a different game and you are not playing with your money. Other people’s lives are on the line. I think he knows that. I am no fan but I give him credit for that much.

    2. I don’t know if the real reason was gerrymandering or just because Trump wants it there.

      Oh c’mon, yes you do.

  10. “No Citizenship Question on 2020 Census as Trump Backs Down Instead, the president signed an executive order directing government agencies to sift through documents and databases to determine Americans’ citizenship status.”

    Does Boehm imagine this is a victory for open borders or immigration?

    “We will leave no stone unturned. I am here to say we are not backing down on our effort to determine the citizenship status of the United States population.”

    —-Donald Trump

    Relative to putting this question on the census questionnaire, this seems far worse from a pro-immigration or pro-Democrat perspective. If the concern before was that illegal immigrants might fear filling out a census form, now they need to fear their interactions with every federal agency to the exact same extent and for all the same reasons.

    Meanwhile, I’m reading reports that ICE is launching a massive roundup of known illegal aliens in Chicago, Los Angeles, and Miami this weekend (on Sunday). Why would Trump ordering federal agencies to pool their databases in an attempt to identify illegal aliens be good news for Democrats on immigration?

    Is there a good reason to think he’s just trying to count how many illegal aliens there are?

    1. They should probably be fearing the upcoming raids of their houses and workplaces to forcibly eject them and their families from where they want to live.

      You know, libertarianism!

      1. Trump is a libertarian?

        Go home Tony. You’re drunk. Again.

        1. Still. Tony lives a miserable life. He is always drunk.

          1. Maybe he hasn’t gotten the barnacles scraped off his hollowed out rectum yet this month.

          2. I don’t know. Was it Dean Martin who said before the first drink in the morning was the worst he’d feel all day?

      2. They should probably be fearing the upcoming raids of their houses and workplaces to forcibly eject them and their families from where they want to live.

        Yes, like any other criminal or trespasser. Like any legal immigrant to the US. Like any immigrant to Mexico or Europe.

        You know, libertarianism!

        The US isn’t a libertarian country, it’s a progressive social welfare state. Progressive social welfare states need borders to function.

        Decide, Tony: libertarian country+open border OR progressive social welfare state+strict border protection.

        1. Since immigrants skew young, pay taxes, and take fewer government services, thus bolstering the welfare state, and considering that nobody except a few wacko libertarians actually advocate “open borders,” this is the falsest of choices.

          1. Tonys links always fall off.

            1. You’re welcome to refute the claim.

              All the egregiously false, as in opposite-of-truth, bullshit you people come up with to oppose immigrants really doesn’t do your case any good. It kind of makes it seem like your motives are other than economic.

    2. In related news, Guatemala may be close to joining with the U.S. and Mexico in a multilateral Safe Third Country agreement.

      “Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales plans to travel to Washington, D.C., on Monday to discuss a deal that would require migrants from neighboring El Salvador and Honduras to seek asylum in Guatemala rather than the U.S., as the Trump administration seeks to slow migrant flows.

      The goal of the visit is to consider an agreement that would designate Guatemala a safe third country for asylum seekers from the region, according to a spokeswoman for Guatemala’s foreign ministry and a Trump administration official. Guatemala has been negotiating the matter with the U.S. for more than a month.”

      —-Wall Street Journal, July 11, 2019

      https://www.wsj.com/articles/guatemala-to-discuss-absorbing-central-american-asylum-seekers-11562881204?

      This is especially important because Mexico’s 45 days to either significantly stop the flow of Central American asylum seekers that reach the U.S. border or introduce a bill in the Mexican Senate to join a Safe Third Country agreement is up in another week. The president of Mexico has repeatedly stated that in order for such a bill to pass in the Mexican Senate, it will probably be necessary for Guatemala to enter into the Third Safe Country agreement, as well. After all, Mexico has its own problems, and they don’t want to be the final destination for millions of destitute Central Americans either.

      Suffice it to say, if Central Americans won’t be eligible for asylum in the U.S. if Mexico enters into a Safe Third Country agreement, and if Guatemala joins the agreement, then Hondurans and Salvadorans won’t be eligible for asylum in Mexico if they set foot in Guatemala first either. There will then be little incentive for Central Americans to make the journey north anymore, and, as I’ve shown in other threads recently, more than 90% of those asylum seekers are never granted asylum anyway.

      If Trump manages to end this crisis with diplomacy, no tariffs, no executive orders, and in full compliance with both the Constitution and international treaties the U.S. Senate has ratified, that will be a major achievement that was pursued and won in a way that every libertarian should applaud. I hope these negotiations are wildly successful.

      I think it unlikely that the Guatemalan president would come all the way to the U.S. just to say “no” in person. The foreign minister shows up to negotiate or say “no”. The president shows up in person for the photo op after the deal is announced.

      1. That would be the bestest of all possible outcomes. Well, if South America could get decent government, I guess that would be even more better.

      2. If Trump manages to end this crisis with diplomacy, no tariffs, no executive orders, and in full compliance with both the Constitution and international treaties the U.S. Senate has ratified, that will be a major achievement that was pursued and won in a way that every libertarian should applaud

        … by completely corrupting the entire concept of “safe third country”?

        The idea is, a “safe third country” is a country where refugees fleeing from *another* country REALLY ARE SAFE. Refugees are fleeing Guatemala NOW because it is NOT safe.

        If one takes the issue of asylum seriously, this is a ridiculous proposal.

        I understand that Trump and his minions want to stop migration by any means necessary, but that doesn’t mean libertarians have to support it.

    3. Trump is really great at misdirection of Lefties.

      Lefties focus on citizenship question and Trump deports enough illegals so they dont respond to the Census or answer the door to Census workers.

      Then Trump has months until Census forms go out to deport more and more illegals. If they arent inside the USA, they wont be counted.

      Win-win-win for America.

      1. I’m not sure he’s misdirecting them as much as they’re just wandering around out in left field somewhere. They still think the Russian thing is a fiasco. They think the Epstein probe will be the straw that breaks the camel’s back. It’s just like it was under Reagan. I’ve seen this all before.

        According to the press, Reagan was an idiot for walking out on Gorbachev in Reykjavik, and the fact that he later embraced Gorbachev just proved that Reagan had no idea what he was doing. When the wall came down, it had nothing to do with Reagan frustrating communist expansion in the developing world, deploying Pershings in Western Europe, or his pragmatism. Oh no, Reagan was an idiot, according to them, and the wall fell down under its own weight!

        They said Reagan was a fucking idiot for thinking that some silly economic theory would end the oil crisis–and then he ended the oil crisis. Then they said Reagan was an idiot for slashing taxes and regulation in the middle of a recession, when what the economy really needed was more spending and more regulation to protect American jobs! Then the economy came roaring back.

        If Trump is being denounced as an idiot by the press corp every step of the way, chances are that he’s doing something right.

        1. He cut taxes and then raised them four times because they to 9% chunk out of revenue. Did the tax hikes also contribute to the boom, or was it just the cuts? Or was it maybe the Fed slashing interest rates?

          Then of course he illegally sold arms to Iran.

          Oh and then there’s the amnesty.

          That man was a terrible president, but he’s not quite terrible enough to be welcomed into today’s Republican party, so you don’t get to claim him anymore.

          1. Tony, you’re not fit to kiss the bottom of Reagan’s shoes after he visited the dog park. His fortitude, along side Margaret Thatcher and Pope John Paul, and of course the fortitude of many preceding and following presidents, militarily members, and millions of people from other nations, including from behind the Iron Curtain (Solidarity anyone), finally broke the USSR. But the big three went for the kill, instead of holding off like the left wanted, and finally ended one of the worst regimes in history.

            1. Pro tip: They were all terrible in some way or another. Each and every one of them. Sometimes something went right, and that’s what we remember most about “our guy”.

              1. Huh. “All have fallen, and all have sinned.” Pretty original. Of course, that means that we can’t honor anyone, can’t look up to anyone, can’t even study ethics or morality from anyone, because ain’t nobody perfect.

            2. So were Reagan’s tax hikes and amnesty responsible for that or no?

                1. Democrats controlled Congress most of the Reagan’s two terms but don’t stop Tony when he is blowing out his rectum.

          2. “Then of course he illegally sold arms to Iran.”

            Why is that a problem for you when your boy illegally gave Iran a fucking pallet of cash?

            You’re an AIDS riddled whore and your positions are garbage.

            1. You’ve been even more cunty than usual lately, Tulps. What’s the matter? Did your cousin finally get tired of lying about how your dick was “pretty much average”?

              1. He’s probably been lonely since they started remembering to lock the morgue at night.

                1. Why are you talking to yourself, Tony?

                  You can’t think that stupid fucking sock fools anyone?

                  “remembering to lock the morgue at night.”

                  You’ve been recycling THAT lame fucking line for a decade too, Tony.

                  1. Lol, the stupidity necessary to think we can’t see straight through you busting out your sad fucking sockpuppet to make it seem like there is actually a single person who doesn’t think you’re AIDS riddled white trash Tony…

                    But you did it. We all see it.

                    1. Yes, Esmeralda is definitely the poster known as Tony. I’ve been watching them both for a while, and it isn’t even hard to tell. And I have seen him use that same phrasing in several other arguments. Usually when he’s losing. It might normally be a coincidence, if they weren’t also obviously the same person.

                    2. Oh, and another one they both like and overuse apparently without knowing it is to insult you by referencing the “____ you have in your ____”. It’s always the same type of silly insult, such as “bodies in your basement” or “victims in your attic”. Tony is pretty uncreative IIBH.

                    3. Oh good it’s a whole convention of paranoids.

                    4. I think the whole “paranoid” thing is already out there. After all, these are the same people who equate school crossing guards with the gestapo.

                2. Holy shit tony is still trying to get that alt over.

                  LOL

              2. I bet to you’re the gross kind with sores all over his gross AIDS face.

                Meanwhile, about that pallet of cash your boy sent that you are trying to distract from Esmeralda.

          3. Tony, he only raised taxes in a compromise deal with your democrat friends that promised spending cuts. As usual, a deal with a democrat means nothing since you’re all lying treasonous scum, so your buddies reneged.

            Really, you and your fellow travelers need to go.

    4. “Meanwhile, I’m reading reports that ICE is launching a massive roundup of known illegal aliens…”

      Gonna get out my inflatable kayak for a river float on the flood of Leftist Tears.

    5. Is there a good reason to think he’s just trying to count how many illegal aliens there are?

      Sure, Ken! Trump runs an entire demagogic presidential campaign on the issue of immigration, scapegoating foreigners as the reason why America “isn’t great”, and when he wants to ask a citizenship question on the Census, we are to assume his motives are pure and noble, and has nothing to do with trying to use Census data for law enforcement purposes. Nope nothing at all.

      1. But we’ll assume Obama’s motive was “pure and noble” when he broke with decades of practice to remove the citizenship question.

        1. WHATABOUTOBAMA??????

          No we shouldn’t assume his motives were pure and noble either. Happy now?

          Perhaps now you can explain why you expect us to believe that Trump really just wants a neutral impartial count of citizens, for neutral impartial reasons.

          1. Perhaps now you can explain why you expect us to believe that Trump really just wants a neutral impartial count of citizens, for neutral impartial reasons.

            He doesn’t want it for “neutral impartial reasons”, he wants it for political reasons, namely to demonstrate how much Democrats have benefited from the count of non-citizens and illegal migrants, and how much Democrats have misused immigration policy for political gain.

      2. Sure, Ken! Trump runs an entire demagogic presidential campaign on the issue of immigration, scapegoating foreigners as the reason why America “isn’t great”,

        He isn’t “scapegoating foreigners”, he is blaming illegal, low-skilled migrants.

        when he wants to ask a citizenship question on the Census, we are to assume his motives are pure and noble, and has nothing to do with trying to use Census data for law enforcement purposes

        There are easier ways to identify illegals than the US Census. The Census question is there for political reasons, namely to make demonstrate the magnitude of the problem and the misallocation of Congressional districts based on non-citizens.

    6. If the concern before was that illegal immigrants might fear filling out a census form, now they need to fear their interactions with every federal agency to the exact same extent and for all the same reasons.

      The difference is, filling out the Census form, completely and accurately, is *COMPELLED BY LAW*.

      Putting the citizenship question on the Census is a type of entrapment: an undocumented immigrant is forced either to break the law and lie/leave the question blank, or to answer the question honestly and self-incriminate. The whole idea behind the Fifth Amendment is supposed to rein in this type of nonsense.

      1. “filling out the Census form, completely and accurately, is *COMPELLED BY LAW*.”

        So is not entering ir remaining in the country contrary to procedure, but illegal immigrants have no problem with avoiding that compulsion.

        And, by the way, saying one is not a citizen isn’t inherently incriminating. Only bigots think it is

        1. *illegal aliens

        2. It’s very cute that you try to throw the ‘bigot’ label back at anyone who disagrees with you. I imagine that is how you think SJW’s operate and you are just ‘using their tactics against them’.

          So is not entering ir remaining in the country contrary to procedure,

          Yup, and so what you evidently want is to force *undocumented* immigrants to incriminate themselves by forcing them to answer a question, asked by the state, on whether they are citizens or not.

          Let’s suppose for a moment that President Kamala Harris (shudder) gets her wish and succeeds in banning all so-called ‘assault rifles’. THEN she puts a question on the 2030 Census to the effect of, “are there any guns in this household?” And if you own an ‘assault rifle’ in violation of the ban, then that Census question puts you into a situation of either incriminating yourself in breaking the law, by answering truthfully, or by breaking the law by lying on/refusing to answer the Census.

          I cannot imagine that you or any of the other Trump boot-lickers around here would not cry in outrage over such a state of affairs. You would, correctly, note that this type of trick is deceitful, and weaponizing the Census for political gain. You would also, correctly, note that there is no way that this Census information on gun ownership won’t be turned automatically into a national registry of gun ownership, and therefore abused by law enforcement at the discretion of the state.

          But somehow, with immigration and undocumented immigrants, then IT’S TOTALLY DIFFERENT, and it’s totally okay to use dirty tricks and weaponization of the Census against *them*, because they don’t really matter.

          1. Yup, and so what you evidently want is to force *undocumented* immigrants to incriminate themselves by forcing them to answer a question, asked by the state, on whether they are citizens or not.

            Again, the Census is not a criminal proceedings, being deported is not a criminal procedure, and not being a citizen isn’t a crime. Therefore, asking “are you a citizen” is not per se a demand for self-incrimination, on the Census or in any other context.

            Note that it is illegal for non-citizens to misrepresent themselves as citizens in most legal contexts already, including tax forms. Illegals are forced to answer this question frequently, and they frequently break the law by lying.

            You would, correctly, note that this type of trick is deceitful, and weaponizing the Census for political gain.

            Democrats have weaponized the Census and the entire immigration and asylum system for political gain for decades. It’s time we return to some semblance of normality.

            But somehow, with immigration and undocumented immigrants, then IT’S TOTALLY DIFFERENT, and it’s totally okay to use dirty tricks and weaponization of the Census against *them*, because they don’t really matter.

            The law is that illegal aliens should be deported, period. It’s the Democrats who have been undermining the rule of law for political gain. That’s why people are angry.

  11. It’s such BS. The constitution says that the census shall count all persons, and those persons determine House representation. The citizenship of the persons doesn’t matter re representation in the House. But it sure would be nice to know if there are 11 million illegals in the country, or 22 million. And which states have the most illegals (California). And Roberts wussed out again. He’s either the least principled Nazgul ever, or somebody’s got something on him. Or both.

    1. He thinks he can write his own legacy, and while he has, it isn’t gong the way he expected, I think.

    2. The number of citizens is needed for improper apportionment in the case of eligible citizens being denied the vote.

    3. But it sure would be nice to know if there are 11 million illegals in the country, or 22 million.

      I’m sure it would be “nice” for the state to know lots of things. That doesn’t mean we libertarians have to advocate for compelling everyone to hand over all of that information to the state just because they think they ought to know it.

    4. The constitution says that the census shall count all persons, and those persons determine House representation. The citizenship of the persons doesn’t matter re representation in the House.

      The Census should count “persons in a State”, i.e., residents. Non-residents are not counted. Arguably, illegals and people on temporary visas are not residents.

    5. Does the citizenship not matter? Serious question about historical precedent. I suppose in colonial times there might have been a ton of Frenchies and Spaniards running around but has it ever been a serious issue in the past?

    6. The problem is that including the question in the census is no guarantee of getting an accurate number. How hard is it for an illegal immigrant to lie, or not to respond to the census at all?

  12. So let me get this straight: if maga country promised NOT to answer the census UNLESS it had the citizenship question, then the constitution would REQUIRE the question to produce a more accurate count? This is the dumbest legal argument I have ever heard: It’s literally an institutionalized heckler’s veto. I’m an open boarders advocate and census abolitionist, please stop forcing me to defend Trump’s position, I don’t like the guy, but I do subscribe to logic. Something I thought I shared with Reason.

    1. “Logic is a social construct of the white supremacist cisheteropatriarchy used to oppress marginalized peoples.”

      If you believe in logic, you’re on Team Trump whether you like it or not.

      Don’t despair. We have cookies!

  13. This is a WIN for libertarians. I see this citizenship question – and quite frankly, most of the questions on the Census – as being analogous to the NSA snooping on us. In the NSA’s case, the state was collecting all sorts of “metadata” and other info on us, and promising that the data would not be “misused”. But we know better and understand that the incentives for the state to misuse and abuse the data are too strong to resist. And lo and behold, our fears were justified.

    In the Census’s case, the state is ALSO collecting all sorts of data on us, and promising that the data would not be “misused”. The only difference between what the NSA did, and the irrelevant questions on the Census, are that they are compelling us to give this information to them out in the open, instead of secretly spying on us without our knowledge. But we know the end result will be the same: the data will be abused and misused to serve whatever corrupt goals the state has in mind.

  14. […] The Trump administration has backed down on its threat to require a citizenship question on the 2020 Census. “In place of the Census question, Trump says he will issue an executive order instructing government agencies to sift through existing databases and documents to determine residents’ immigration status,” Reason‘s Eric Boehm explains. […]

  15. […] The Trump administration has backed down on its threat to require a citizenship question on the 2020 Census. “In place of the Census question, Trump says he will issue an executive order instructing government agencies to sift through existing databases and documents to determine residents’ immigration status,” Reason‘s Eric Boehm explains. […]

  16. […] The Trump administration has backed down on its threat to require a citizenship question on the 2020 Census. “In place of the Census question, Trump says he will issue an executive order instructing government agencies to sift through existing databases and documents to determine residents’ immigration status,” Reason‘s Eric Boehm explains. […]

  17. […] The Trump administration has backed down on its threat to require a citizenship question on the 2020 Census. “In place of the Census question, Trump says he will issue an executive order instructing government agencies to sift through existing databases and documents to determine residents’ immigration status,” Reason‘s Eric Boehm explains. […]

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  19. […] The Trump administration has backed down on its threat to require a citizenship question on the 2020 Census. “In place of the Census question, Trump says he will issue an executive order instructing government agencies to sift through existing databases and documents to determine residents’ immigration status,” Reason‘s Eric Boehm explains. […]

  20. […] Trump’s census surrender, which represents the third time the administration has changed its plans regarding a citizenship […]

  21. […] Trump’s census surrender, which represents the third time the administration has changed its plans regarding a citizenship […]

  22. […] Trump’s census surrender, which represents the third time the administration has changed its plans regarding a citizenship […]

  23. […] Trump’s census surrender, which represents the third time the administration has changed its plans regarding a citizenship […]

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