The census determines the granting of $ 675 billion in federal grants and determines the number of seats allocated to each state in the House of Representatives.
After several weeks of heated controversy, Donald Trump has backtracked. The US president gave up on Thursday (July 11th) to add a controversial question on nationality to the 2020 census questionnaire, but ordered the government to get the answers by other means.
"We will choose another path"he said in a speech from the gardens of the White House. "We are not relaxing our efforts to determine the citizenship status of the American people. "
He said he would order each agency of the federal government to provide the Department of Commerce with all requested documents regarding the number of citizens and non-citizens in the country. "We do not back down in our efforts"he hammered.
The stakes are immense: the census conditions the granting of 675 billion dollars of federal subsidies and determines the number of seats allocated to each American State in the House of Representatives, according to the population.
But the addition of a question on nationality, abandoned more than sixty years ago, could push between 1.6 and 6.5 million immigrants to refrain from participating or to lie on the questionnaire out of fear, especially among undocumented migrants, to be spotted.
This episode is a stinging setback for the tenant of the White House who had engaged a tug of war on this topic and raised the possibility of having recourse to a presidential decree, even to postpone the printing of the forms to be used for the census which must to be held every ten years according to the Constitution.
The Supreme Court blocked two weeks ago the addition of this issue in the next census, deeming artificial "The justifications provided by the Trump administration".