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WATCH: Trump Announces Push For Citizenship Data Apart From Census

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President Trump pauses after delivering remarks on citizenship and the census in the Rose Garden at the White House on Thursday.
Brendan Smialowski, AFP/Getty Images

President Trump pauses after delivering remarks on citizenship and the census in the Rose Garden at the White House on Thursday.

Updated at 6:40 p.m. ET

President Trump announced an executive order on gathering citizenship information, a shift from an earlier effort to get a question about citizenship on the 2020 census.

Trump spoke alongside Attorney General William Barr, who praised his decision.

Their remarks come after the Supreme Court blocked, for now, the addition of the question "Is this person a citizen of the United States?" on the annual headcount. Critics feared the question would lead to undercounts of immigrant groups and communities of color.

Despite the justices' rejection, Trump had vowed to continue pushing for the change — even as printing of the paper forms has begun.

The administration's persistence includes an attempt to change the Justice Department's legal team on the issue.

But Trump's remarks Thursday indicate the administration is dropping the question fight in favor for a different avenue for getting a count of noncitizens in the U.S.

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Still, it's not clear what impact the executive order will have. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, who oversees the Census Bureau, has already directed the bureau to enter into special agreements with the Social Security Administration and Department of Homeland Security to compile existing government records on citizenship.

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