UPDATED 5:00 p.m. ET: In response to the Supreme Court's ruling, Donald Trump said that he has asked government lawyers if they can delay the 2020 census. Taking to Twitter on Thursday, the president said it is "totally ridiculous" that the government cannot ask U.S. residents whether they hold citizenship, highlighting the political blow his administration took as a result of the ruling.
Since stating his intentions, Congressional Democrats and Republicans questioned whether or not Trump has the authority to delay the census. "I don't know if he can delay the census, I think it's set out in the constitution. I don't know how you waive it. But that's all I know," Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL) said, per CBS.
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The Supreme Court blocked the Trump administration's attempts to include a question on the 2020 census form asking U.S. residents whether or not they are citizens.
The court didn't rule on whether or not including the citizenship question is unlawful but rather cited concerns over why the president's administration wanted to include it in the first place. In a majority opinion written by Chief Justice Roberts, the court said that the argument in support of the citizenship question, "seems to have been contrived," insinuating that political motives were at play.
The Supreme Court's decision to send the question back to a lower court has left the 2020 census in a state of flux. Although, with the census deadline quickly approaching, there may not be time for the Department of Commerce to adjust their argument so that the question can make it onto the mandatory form.
The Democrats have argued that asking residents whether they hold citizenship intimidates legal and illegal immigrants, likely prompting them not to participate and thus making the population count less accurate. The administration, on the other hand, said they wanted to include the question to uphold the Voting Rights Act of 1965 in an effort to protect minority voters.
Per the U.S. Constitution, an “actual enumeration” is set to take place every ten years, however the government often uses the data collected for other purposes outside of population count. The president's immigration policy suffered a major setback as a result of the ruling, given the intended purpose of adding the question likely stemmed from weakening the Democrats' representation and shifting political power.
Last night, during the first Democratic debate, candidates such as Bill de Blasio, Beto O'Rourke, Elizabeth Warren, and Julian Castro expressed their vehement discontent with the president's immigration policies. The Senator from Massachusetts, the highest polling candidate among the Democrats who participated, spoke to the corruption that has riddled Trump's tenure, however it was Castro who dominated the immigration conversation.
The former mayor of San Antonio briefly went head-to-head against fellow Texan Beto O'Rourke for not supporting the decriminalization of crossing the border, a stance both Castro and Warren have adopted.
"The reason they are separating these little children from their families is they are using section 1325 of the (Immigration and Nationality Act), which criminalizes coming across the border, to incarcerate the parents and separate them. Some of us on this stage have called to end that section, to terminate it. Some, like Congressman O'Rourke, have not," Castro said. "I just think it's a mistake, and I think if you truly want to change the system that we've got to repeal that section."
The second night of the first Democratic debate, where frontrunners Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders will both be participating, will air on NBC tonight from 9pm - 11pm EST.