A group of immigrants from Honduras and El Salvador who crossed the U.S.-Mexico border illegally are loaded on to a van, Wednesday, June 25, 2014, in Granjeno, Texas. At least six local, state and federal law enforcement agencies patrol the five mile zone which is illegal immigration’s busiest corridor. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

I don’t have the video yet, but President Trump just spoke in the Rose Garden on his effort to count citizenship via the census.

While trying to dress it up otherwise, he officially gave up on trying to get the question onto the census. This is the culmination of a ridiculous legal battle that went all the way to the Supreme Court. For 175 years, the census included a question on citizenship but the rules are always different for Trump. The lower courts came up with tortured reasons why he couldn’t add the question back. That eventually led to Roberts once again joining with the liberals on the Supreme Court to affirm the right to add the question while twisting in the wind about motive to deny it in the end.

Trump would go on to say in his speech that they will get the citizenship numbers from elsewhere in places such as government databases. This was the thrust of the executive order that was announced during his remarks, which directed all agencies to use the information they have to compile the number of non-citizens in the country.

While that may be an acceptable alternative to some, it seems largely irrelevant to me. The entire point of this fight was to have citizenship and residency enumerated on the census. If it’s not on the census, it’s useless in terms of fighting fraudulent apportionment. The 14th amendment clearly intended for only those that are taxed (and their dependents) to be given representation.

Without that check in place, liberal states like California have every incentive to keep flaunting immigration laws and garnering more and more House seats based on increases in illegal alien populations. This was not the intention of those who ratified the 14th amendment in 1868. Going back even further, the idea that uncounted, foreign populations could simply cross into the United States and be counted toward government representation would have been taken as a ludicrous idea by the Founders.

This was a fight worth having, even if it meant delaying the census. Now, the issue is all but moot. Even if Trump somehow gets the citizenship numbers, they will not be in a legally actionable form to deal with the apportionment issues. The data will be completely useless outside of general studies and the like. You also can’t just pick this baton up a year from now. The next census will be in 2030.

Whether he wants to admit it or not, the President has lost this war.

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