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The Latest: Barr says census decision based on logistics

July 11, 2019
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President Donald Trump is joined by Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and Attorney General William Barr, right, as he speaks in the Rose Garden at the White House in Washington, Thursday, July 11, 2019. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on President Donald Trump and the issue of adding a citizenship question to the 2020 census (all times local):

6 p.m.

Attorney General William Barr says the federal government is abandoning its efforts to inquire about citizenship status on the census due to logistics, not legality.

Barr said Thursday alongside President Donald Trump at the White House that he believes the administration had “ample justification” to inquire about citizenship status.

Trump announced he would issue an executive order so the government would pursue other ways to get the data.

But Barr, who repeatedly congratulated Trump on the order, claimed there was no way “to implement any new decision without jeopardizing our ability to carry out the census.”

The Supreme Court had blocked Trump’s initial plan.

The government has already begun the lengthy and expensive process of printing the census questionnaire without the question on citizenship.

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5:50 p.m.

President Donald Trump is giving an important endorsement to a change in the way electoral districts are drawn that would increase Republican political power.

Trump says citizenship data would help states that “may want to draw state and local legislative districts based upon the voter-eligible population.”

That would mark a change from how districts are drawn currently, based on the entire population.

Excluding children and non-citizens could shift political power from urban areas, where immigrants tend to cluster and Democrats are typically favored, to whiter, more rural Republican strongholds.

The issue is an open one at the Supreme Court and is likely to wind up there if states pursue it in the next round of redistricting after the census.

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5:45 p.m.

President Donald Trump is abandoning his effort to include a citizenship question on the 2020 census.

Instead, Trump says he’s ordering every federal department and agency to provide the Commerce Department with all records it requests pertaining to the number of citizens and noncitizens in the country.

Trump says he will sign an executive order to put this new plan into effect “immediately.”

Trump’s plan to include a citizenship question on the 2020 census was thwarted by a recent Supreme Court ruling on legal challenges to the effort.

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3:40 p.m.

President Donald Trump is expected to drop his bid to include a citizenship question on the 2020 census. That’s according to House Republicans aide. Trump will instead pursue other avenues for asking the question after the Supreme Court blocked his efforts, according to a current and former administration official familiar with the plans.

Trump tweeted Thursday morning that he will be holding a news conference on the subject. A senior administration official said the president would be announcing new executive action as part of the effort but did not elaborate.

Trump said last week that he was “very seriously” considering an executive order to try to force the citizenship question’s inclusion.

But the government has already begun the lengthy and expensive process of printing the census questionnaire without the question on citizenship.

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2:20 p.m.

Opponents of having a citizenship question on the 2020 census say they’ll return to court to fight President Donald Trump’s push to add the controversial query.

Trump is expected to announce new executive action Thursday, after last month’s Supreme Court ruling forbidding the administration from asking about citizenship, at least temporarily.

The American Civil Liberties Union’s Dale Ho says the Trump administration’s ongoing efforts are “unlawful.” The ACLU represents plaintiffs in the census case in New York.

The head of the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Thomas Saenz, says census officials “cannot defy those court orders simply because Donald Trump wants them to do so.” The fund represents plaintiffs in Maryland.

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7:15 a.m.

President Donald Trump says he’ll hold a news conference Thursday to talk about the 2020 census and his push to include a question on citizenship.

A Supreme Court ruling barred the question for now. But Trump has said he may issue an executive order or memorandum to try to force the issue.

An executive order would not, by itself, override court rulings blocking the question. But such a move could give administration lawyers a new basis to try to convince federal courts the question could be included.

Trump tweeted Thursday he will hold the news conference following a White House social media summit.

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