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Lawsuit, tweet and changing deadline cause confusion about when, exactly, census will end

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An ongoing court case and a tweet by the U.S. Census Bureau are causing confusion about when, exactly, the census is scheduled to end.

After the coronavirus pandemic forced the Census Bureau to suspend field work in March, the Department of Commerce extended the deadline for field data collection and self-response to Oct. 31.

In August, though, the Census Bureau announced the deadline had been changed to Sept. 30.

That prompted a federal lawsuit. A federal judge signed a preliminary injunction, which stayed the deadline change.

On Monday, however, the Census Bureau tweeted: "The Secretary of Commerce has announced a target date of October 5, 2020 to conclude 2020 Census self-response and field data collection operations."

That caused further confusion. It also prompted legal arguments over whether or not U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilber Ross should be held in contempt of court.

The changing deadlines, the court case and the tweet are causing headaches for local leaders who are trying to make sure everyone is counted.

"Absolutely going to impact the entire Rio Grande Valley, the entire country, there's no way from now to Oct. 5 that we would be even be able to get to at least our 2010 participation rate," said Cameron County District Clerk Sylvia Garza-Perez, the chairwoman of the county's Complete Count Committee. 

Watch the video for the full story.

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