After meeting with right wing social media provocateurs and liars, Donald Trump stepped up to a microphone in the Rose Garden and laid the citizenship question on the 2020 census to rest, once and for all. This is not to say he surrendered on his quest to identify non-citizens so he can round 'em up and toss 'em out. He didn't. But that was never the point anyway.
The point was always to strike fear into immigrant populations so that they will still be afraid to respond to the census and be undercounted. That hasn't gone away; in fact, Trump's demands that the Commerce Department do what they do, which is to collect data on citizens and non-citizens. The problem with putting it on the census was that the census data is used to determine representation.
This whole fandango has been about scaring poor and desperate people. This whole administration* is about scaring poor and desperate people. It's the only consistent thing about it. It's the only policy idea these geniuses have. Fear is the point as much as cruelty is. Which is why I think that might be pretty much the same thing. They'll round up maybe 50 or 100 people in 10 or 20 cities, trot them past a bunch of TV cameras, and wait for the terror to percolate in a thousand darkened living rooms.
Yes, the cruelty is the point.