President Donald Trump's statement is at odds with the Justice Department's announcement Tuesday that it began printing the 2020 Census documents. Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI | License Photo
July 3 (UPI) -- President Donald Trump contradicted his Justice Department on Wednesday, saying he has not given up his attempts to include a question about citizenship on the 2020 Census.
His announcement came one day after Justice Department lawyers said the administration began printing the census documents without the question on them.
"The News Reports about the Department of Commerce dropping its quest to put the Citizenship Question on the Census is incorrect or, to state it differently, FAKE! We are absolutely moving forward, as we must, because of the importance of the answer to this question," Trump tweeted.
The Justice Department on Tuesday said it began printing the documents this week after the Supreme Court last week blocked the Trump administration's citizenship question. The administration ran out of time to continue fighting the case because printing needed to start in time for the census to begin next year.
But the Justice Department indicated Wednesday it had been told to try to add a citizenship question to the census that fell within the parameters of U.S. District Judge George Hazel's ruling.
"We at the Department of Justice have been instructed to examine whether there is a path forward consistent with the Supreme Court's decision that would allow us to include the citizenship question on the census," Jody Hunt, assistant attorney general for the Civil Division, told Hazel in court.
In writing for the majority, Chief Justice John Roberts said the court ruled against the citizenship question because there's insufficient grounds to have census takers ask such a question. The vote came on the last day before the court recesses for the summer.
After the ruling, Trump proposed asking for a delay of the census.
There are two main sides to the controversy -- those who say the question will enforce and protect federal voting laws, and opponents who say it would lead to a substantial undercount, because an untold number of undocumented migrants would not participate. At least one government estimate suggested an undercount could miss up to 6.5 million people.
A substantial undercount would have steep implications for states like Arizona, California, Florida, Illinois, New York and Texas, which could lose seats in the U.S. House. Eighteen states have sued to block the question.
Also, Wednesday, the House Committee on Oversight and Reform's Subcommittee on Civil Rights and Civil Liberties said Steven Dilingham, the director of the Census Bureau, will testify at a July 24 hearing.
"It is time for the Census Bureau to move beyond all the outside political agendas and distractions and devote its full attention to preparing for the 2020 Census," said subcommittee Chairman Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Md.
"This hearing will examine the current status of the bureau's readiness for the census next year -- especially in areas where the bureau may be falling behind such as [information technology], security and public education."