On Thursday, President Donald Trump admitted defeat in his quest to include a citizenship question in the Census. So case closed on that unusual fight. The U.S. Supreme Court effectively shut him down from mandating a citizenship question, which many deemed to be an extension of the president’s anti-immigrant bias.
But he also announced during a news conference in the Rose Garden an executive order to obtain data about the citizenship status of the U.S. population, including, he said, citizens, non-citizens, and “illegal aliens.”
“As shocking as it may be, far left Democrats are determined to conceal the number of illegal aliens in our midst,” Trump said in an evening Rose Garden news conference in Washington, D.C.
“I am hereby ordering every department and agency in the federal government to provide the Department of Commerce with all requested records regarding the number of citizens and noncitizens in our country,” said Trump announcing the new executive order, effective immediately.
Trump said using databases maintained by agencies like Homeland Security and the Social Security Administration would lead to a more complete count of America’s noncitizen population.
“Trump was trying to save face from the fact that he lost on the Census question. Most of this information has already been gathered,” Charles Rhodes, a constitutional law professor at South Texas College of Law Houston.
Rhodes said the Trump administration’s new executive order basically went with an earlier recommendation by the Department of Commerce officials.
“This is nothing new and its traditionally been done and the timing of this announcement with respect to information that has already largely been gathered is merely a face-saving measure to try to encourage [Trump’s] supporters that he’s still fighting for this particular information.”
Trump’s attempt to identify the citizenship of American residents stems from a larger strategy to carve out the country on behalf of Republican lawmakers.
When the Supreme Court last month struck down Trump’s attempt to include a citizenship question in the 2020 Census, the ruling was partly made because of the unearthed files of a Republican gerrymandering consultant whose 2015 analysis said the addition of the question “would be advantageous to Republicans and non-Hispanic whites.”
With that attempt defeated, Trump was forced to use other means to continue his administration’s attack on undocumented residents throughout the country, including Texas where 1.6 million undocumented residents are estimated live.
Trump is already moving forward with a plan to deport thousands of undocumented residents through a series of a nationwide raids that will begin on Sunday, according to the New York Times. The Signal’s calls to ICE on whether Houston is on the raid list have not been returned.
This story has been updated. Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images