2020 Census Gets Almost $2 Billion Increase from House Appropriators
May 30, 2018
On Thursday, May 17, 2018 the House Appropriations Committee approved $4.8 billion in overall funding for the Census Bureau, as part of the fiscal year (FY) 2019 Commerce, Justice, Science (CJS) spending bill. The appropriation is a $1.985 billion increase above the FY 2018 enacted level; almost $1 billion above the President’s FY 2019 budget request. The funds would primarily support 2020 Census activities such as technology improvements, address canvassing, End-to-End tests, and the opening of 248 Census field offices.
Regrettably, the bill contains several unacceptable provisions. One major upset for advocates was a decision by the Committee to reject an amendment to remove the citizenship question. NETWORK submitted written testimony and organized faith leader sign on letters in opposition to the citizenship question. We were also disappointed that the Committee included a big increase for illegal immigration enforcement. In particular, the Committee approved a $126 million increase above FY 2018 for the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR), a division within the Department of Justice that adjudicates immigration removal proceedings. This increase would annualize 100 new immigration judge teams the Committee approved in the FY 2018 Omnibus and would provide funds for 100 additional immigration judge teams in FY 2019. This total increase of 200 new immigration judge teams over a two-year period would drastically reduce the immigration case backlog while resulting in more families being torn apart.
A floor vote on final passage in the House has not been scheduled, but we anticipate it will occur before the August recess. The Senate Appropriations Committee is expected to consider its own FY 2019 CJS spending bill sometime in June. NETWORK will continue to push for full funding and oppose the addition of a citizenship question.