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Trump appears to contradict his own administration on census citizenship question

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"Print the census with the question - and issue a statement explaining why - 'because we should.' Done".

The president said that the question is important and that his administration is still working on putting it on the census. According to the source, the president is indicating that he intends to move forward on the matter in court as a matter of principle, even if the 2020 census ultimately will not include the citizenship question.

Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross confirmed this in a statement to Fox News, saying, "The Census Bureau has started the process of printing the decennial questionnaires without the question".

"We are absolutely moving forward, as we must, because of the importance of the answer to this question", he wrote.

Despite continuing internal confusion in the Trump administration - so what else is new? A Census official had testified at trial that extending the deadline to October under the current budget would "impair the Census Bureau's ability to timely administer the 2020 census" and that it would only be feasible with "exceptional resources".

In a separate tweet on Wednesday, Trump wrote, "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!"

"There's no evidence in this record that the secretary [of Commerce] would have asked this question had the Department of Justice not requested it", Solicitor General Noel Francisco argued in front of the Supreme Court.

Calls to boycott the census have been circulating on social media ever since the possible addition of a citizenship question was announced in late March, and #BoycottTheCensus began trending on Twitter nationally shortly after the Trump administration's decision was announced on Tuesday.

Trump last Thursday also said he was exploring whether the census, which the U.S. Constitution requires be carried out every 10 years, can be delayed.

U.S. District Judge George Hazel is now giving the administration until Friday to decide whether it will enter into a written agreement that confirms it will no longer pursue including a citizenship question on census forms, plaintiffs' attorneys Denise Hulett of the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund and Shankar Duraiswamy of Covington & Burling tell NPR.

While the Trump administration argued in court that there was not enough evidence that the question would decrease the response rate, research from the Census Bureau itself shows that Latinos in the USA were undercounted by 1.5 percent in the 2010 census, and African Americans by almost 2 percent.

The White House did not immediately respond to questions about what he meant.

Documents uncovered as part of the litigation over the citizenship question showed that a Republican redistricting strategist believed adding the question would benefit Republicans and white voters. Since then, it has been included only on questionnaires sent to a smaller subset of the population.