'The Trump administration has decided to print the 2020 census forms without a citizenship question and the printer has been told to start the printing process, Justice Department spokesperson Kelly Laco confirms to NPR.
The move comes shortly after the Supreme Court ruled to keep the question off census forms for now and just a day after printing was scheduled to begin for 1.5 billion paper forms, letters and other mailings.
In recent days, President Trump had said he wanted to delay the constitutionally mandated head count to give the Supreme Court a chance to issue a more "decisive" ruling on whether the administration could add the question, "Is this person a citizen of the United States?"
It's unclear whether the decision to start printing forms without the question means that the administration has dropped all plans to continue pushing for its addition.
Justice Department attorneys are expected to provide more details about the administration's plans at a hearing later with a federal judge who is presiding over recently reopened lawsuits in Maryland regarding the question.
Advocates worried including the question would suppress participation in the census, especially among immigrant households and communities of color. The bureau's own research in 2018 found the question to be a "major barrier" to participation in the head count by every household in the country. Test forms that include the citizenship question have already been sent to a quarter million households.'
Will this be the last we hear of it? Apparently printing off 1.5 billion forms takes a while and the window to add it would impose an enormous burden in distribution. I'm hoping that this effectively kills the question being added for 2020.