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Census witnesses complete testimony

A U.S. judge presiding over a lawsuit challenging the Trump administration’s plan to include a question about citizenship on the 2020 census finished hearing from witnesses and told lawyers to make their final arguments on Nov. 27.

U.S. District Judge Jesse Furman said he may hear from one more witness — Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross — if the U.S. Supreme Court allows it. Before the trial, which began Nov. 5, the high court temporarily blocked Furman from requiring Ross to give pretrial testimony.

A group of states and cities sued in April claiming the administration’s use of the question — “Is this person a citizen of the United States?” — on the next census is an illegal attempt to depress responses from undocumented immigrants and their families.

The U.S. Department of Commerce, which oversees the Census Bureau, claims it has the authority to add the question to the survey, which is conducted every ten years and is used to target federal funds, set Congressional districts and apportion Electoral College votes.

The case is State of New York v. U.S. Department of Commerce, 18-cv-2921, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).

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