New Delhi: The Donald Trump administration will continue to pursue a way of adding a citizenship question to the census, lawyers said in court filings. Also Read - Photoshoot in Space: Cosmetics Company Estée Lauder to Pay Rs 95 Lakh to NASA to Shoot an Ad Aboard The ISS; Take-Off Tomorow!

But administration lawyers failed to provide any legal justification for the census question by a court deadline, the BBC reported. Also Read - Trump Avoided Income Tax For Years, Paid Just $750 in 2016-17; President Calls Report 'Totally Fake'

The Supreme Court rejected the initial rationale for adding the question to the 2020 census as “contrived”. Also Read - US Judge Blocks President Trump's Order to Ban TikTok From App Store

The question is a controversial because critics believe it will discourage immigrants from taking part.

They say that lower participation by immigrants could lead to an undercount of populations in Democratic districts, benefiting President Donald Trump’s Republican Party and altering how congressional seats are allocated and billions of dollars of federal funds distributed in those districts.

The Trump administration said it wanted to ask about citizenship to better enforce a law that protects the voting rights of minorities, but the Supreme Court dismissed that justification.

It appeared settled when government lawyers indicated they had dropped the question, and officials began printing the census without it.

That reportedly infuriated President Trump, who announced that his administration would pursue the issue.

But a deadline of 14:00 (18:00 GMT) on Friday set by a Maryland district judge came and went, with no clear indication from the administration on how they planned to add the citizenship question.

Government lawyers said only that the justice and commerce departments had been “instructed to examine whether there is a path forward”.

President Trump said on Friday an executive order was among the options he was considering to force the question on to the census.

“We have four or five ways we can do it,” Trump told reporters, suggesting the administration could “maybe do an addendum” after getting a positive decision.

But legal experts say executive orders could not override Supreme Court decisions.

US media reported that the administration was considering using separate federal records to try to gather information about undocumented immigrants.