We won’t know for sure what the course of action will be until 5 P.M. today, but President Trump appears to be backing down from his decision to add the citizenship question on the 2020 census. That doesn’t mean he’s given up on the effort entirely. He's said to be looking into other avenues to gather this information (via NBC News):
President Donald Trump is expected to announce Thursday that he is backing down from his effort to include a citizenship question in the 2020 census and will instead direct the Commerce Department to acquire the data by other means, an administration source told NBC News.
“It should come as no surprise to anybody the president wants to know who’s in this country legally and lawfully, and he’s going to do everything within his legal authority to make sure that information is known because the American people have a right to know,” another official said.
Trump tweeted that he will hold a news conference in the afternoon to discuss his efforts related to adding the question to the census.
"The White House will be hosting a very big and very important Social Media Summit today," Trump tweeted earlier Thursday. "Would I have become President without Social Media? Yes (probably)! At its conclusion, we will all go to the beautiful Rose Garden for a News Conference on the Census and Citizenship."
Last week, Trump told reporters on the White House South Lawn when asked if he would issue an executive order to include the question on the census: "We're thinking about doing that."
"It's one of the ways," he added. "We have four or five ways we can do it. It's one of the ways and we're thinking about doing it very seriously."
This has yet again been a difficult initiative the Trump White House has pushed, despite the question being included in past surveys. It’s also not illegal. The Supreme Court sent the matter to be handled by the lower courts because the Commerce Department lawyers apparently did a bad job explaining why we needed the question. The court, which split-5-4 on this decision, did not say the question was unconstitutional. Regardless, it was a body blow. The time that it would take for the matter to be resolved would be too long. For a bit, it seemed the administration had caved and wouldn’t pursue adding the question. Trump did a reversal, ordering the DOJ to look into ways to add it onto the survey. Attorney General William Barr also said they found a pathway to add this key question. It set off a mini-meltdown on the Left. Alas, that appears not to be the case and it’s very hazy concerning what these alternative methods will be used to determine who is and who isn’t a citizen. The legal challenge was further hampered by two Obama-appointed judges, who said the DOJ couldn’t switch legal teams, which they had done. Trump has mulled delaying the census or issuing an executive order as well.