Shortly after concluding his grievance conference with right-wing social media commentators who ran afoul of the anti-racism clauses in Twitter’s terms of service, the President took to the Rose Garden to make a long-awaited announcement about the citizenship question he desperately wants to jam into the 2020 census.
Conflicting reports left the nation in confusion this morning as first, the news seemed to indicate that the president was going to attempt to use an executive order to get his citizenship question, then that he was going to back off and admit defeat, and then that he had a new plan to get what he wants so dearly — a detailed count of how many undocumented immigrants live in the United States.
But this afternoon’s press conference turned out to be nothing but a smoke-and-mirrors show in a sad attempt to hide the fact that he’s been forced to admit defeat after ignoring the advice of his legal team and digging in.
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Stymied by the American judiciary’s refusal to buy the Trump administration’s preposterous and transparent efforts to cover up the discriminatory intent behind the census question, Trump instead announced he will compiling citizenship data using existing federal records, which happens to be what the Census Bureau recommended nearly a year and a half ago.
.@TerryMoran: "The president could have had this from day one."
"But the administration wanted to force a question on every American…and contrary to what Attorney General Barr says, that direct question has never been asked of every person living in the United States." pic.twitter.com/Zjwmx21Ppl
— ABC News (@ABC) July 11, 2019
The president was obviously not happy with the results, accusing his enemies of “trying to erase the very existence of a very important word and a very important thing, citizenship.”
Most disturbingly, however, Trump and Attorney General Barr made it clear that his efforts to use citizenship data to exclude undocumented immigrants and tilt electoral maps in favor of Republicans for a decade will continue unimpeded.
Tierney Sneed at Talking Points Memo writes “after Trump said that the data the Commerce Department would produce would include the number of “illegal aliens” in the United States (something the proposed citizenship question would not have asked), Barr said data on undocumented immigrants could be useful for the purpose of deciding how many U.S. congressional seats each state gets, in the process known as apportionment.”
The legal battles are just beginning, and the Trump team may have succeeded in tainting the census for many worried immigrants simply out of fear of what might happen if they fill out that form. We must redouble our efforts to make sure that every person in the United States has their voice heard and their existence recognized.
Watch the president’s remarks here: