WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump on Thursday will announce an executive action over his administration’s effort to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census despite ongoing court challenges, a source told Reuters.
Trump, in a tweet earlier on Thursday, said he would hold the news conference on the census following his planned meeting on social media, which is scheduled for 3:45 p.m. (1945 GMT).
Representatives for the White House did not immediately respond to requests for comment on the planned action. The administration’s attempts to add the contentious question have been blocked in the courts amid challenges from some U.S. states and civil rights groups.
Critics say all residents should be counted in the census and that asking about citizenship discriminates against racial minorities and is aimed at giving Republicans an unfair advantage in elections. Trump and his supporters say it makes sense to know how many non-citizens are living in the country.
Trump and his administration’s efforts to add a question to the nation’s decennial population survey have become embroiled in a legal fight not only over plaintiffs’ opposition but also over the Department of Justice’s handling of the cases.
The case had already made its way to the U.S. Supreme Court, which last month ruled against the Republican president’s first attempt to add the question, saying the administration’s rationale was “contrived” but leaving the door open to its possible addition if officials could offer a new explanation.
Following the ruling, the Justice Department has sought to shake up its legal team by replacing the lawyers handling the case. On Wednesday, a second federal judge rejected the department’s efforts, saying it had to offer detailed reasoning for the change.
Any executive action would also likely face a legal challenge.
The U.S. Constitution specifically assigns the job of overseeing the census to Congress, limiting a president’s authority, which could complicate any effort to add the question via presidential missive.
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