News 12 july — 10:19

US census 2020: Trump retreats on citizenship question

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President Donald Trump will no longer pursue adding a question on citizenship to the 2020 US census questionnaire, BBC reports.

Instead, he said he had directed officials to obtain the information through an executive order for government agencies, as court challenges would have delayed a census.

"We will leave no stone unturned," Mr Trump said.

The retreat follows a long fight over the inclusion of the question, which the Supreme Court had blocked in June.

"We are not backing down on our effort to determine the citizenship status of the United States population," the US president said.

The order will require government agencies to hand over documents regarding citizenship.

"As a result of today's executive order we will be able to ensure the 2020 census generates an accurate count of how many citizens, non-citizens and illegal aliens are in the United States of America," Mr Trump said at the White House.

Kristen Clarke, president of the National Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, told the BBC she had concerns about Mr Trump's plans.

"This is essentially an attempt to compile data on a mass scale in a way that is unprecedented," she said. "We don't know how long it will take for them to pull this data together, we don't know what they will do with that data."

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