'Democracy Has Won': Democrats Celebrate As Trump Administration Is Forced to Drop Citizenship Question on 2020 Census

As President Donald Trump licked his wounds after losing the battle to see a controversial citizenship question included on the 2020 census, Democrats and rights groups across the country celebrated a fresh victory for democracy.

"Democracy has won," California Secretary of State Alex Padilla declared in a statement on Tuesday, calling the government's defeat on the census issue a "victory for everyone who has taken a stand against the Trump Administration's attacks on our values and our democratic institutions."

Earlier that day, the Trump administration had announced that it would be printing the 2020 census forms without the question: "Is this person a citizen of the United States?" after the Supreme Court blocked the government's efforts to see the query included.

The White House had argued that the question could help secure protections for minority voters, but rights groups and Democrats argued that it would only stoke fears of deportation among immigrant groups and deter immigrant households from taking part in the population count, which only happens once every ten years.

A 2018 report undertaken by Census Bureau researchers appeared to support critics' claims, with their findings suggesting that the inclusion of a citizenship question would likely result in lower response rates from households with immigrants and minority groups, leading to a "lower-quality population count."

The Supreme Court also found the Trump administration's argument wanting, calling its justification of the plan to include the controversial question "contrived."

"Let's not forget that the inclusion of a citizenship question was not driven by any lawful justification—the Supreme Court made that abundantly clear—but instead, by a discriminatory agenda from Trump advisors Steven Bannon and Kris Kobach that was based on demonizing immigrants and trying to blunt the political, social, and economic impact of changing demographics across America," Padilla said.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) also celebrated the development, with Dale Ho, director of the organization's Voting Rights Project, who argued the Supreme Court case, noting that the court's decision left the Trump administration with "no choice but to proceed with printing the 2020 census forms without a citizenship question. Everyone in America counts in the census, and today's decision means we all will," Ho said.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) joined in welcoming the news, with the council's National Executive Director Nihad Awad praising the "activists and community members nationwide who fought this attempt to politicize the census" for their hard work in seeing the elimination of a "discriminatory question."

The citizenship question has appeared on the U.S. census in the past, being asked of some subsets of the population after it was reintroduced on the long form census, as recently as the year 2000. However, it has not been included on the census for all Americans since 1950.

Trump, who had initially raised the possibility of delaying the census to allow time for the government to provide new legal arguments in support of including the question on the 2020 census, took to Twitter on Tuesday to lament his administration's decision to back down.

"A very sad time for America when the Supreme Court of the United States won't allow a question of 'Is this person a Citizen of the United States?' to be asked on the #2020 Census!" Trump said. However, the president vowed that he would not be giving up the fight.

"Going on for a long time. I have asked the Department of Commerce and the Department of Justice to do whatever is necessary to bring this most vital of questions, and this very important case, to a successful conclusion," the president said, before ending his tweet with the words: "USA! USA! USA!"

Donald Trump
U.S. President Donald Trump speaks to the media after signing a bill for border funding in the Oval Office at the White House on July 1, 2019 in Washington, D.C. The president struck out at the Supreme Court's decision to bar the Trump administration from asking a controversial citizenship question on the 2020 Census. Mark Wilson/Getty
'Democracy Has Won': Democrats Celebrate As Trump Administration Is Forced to Drop Citizenship Question on 2020 Census | U.S.