House Democrats moving bill to block census citizenship question, quotas for immigration judges

Posted Thursday, 16 May 2019 ‐ CNN

Washington (CNN)A Democrat-led House subcommittee will vote Friday on a bill that would block the 2020 census from asking people about their citizenship status and prohibit the Justice Department from using quotas to force judges to move faster on immigration cases.The provisions are a long way from reaching President Donald Trump's desk and are unlikely to survive scrutiny by Senate Republicans and the White House. But their presence is a sign of how House Democrats are using their new majority power to try and block or influence administration policy.Critics of the citizenship question say it will lead to a decline in the number of people responding to the census, resulting in an undercount of minority communities and therefore the allocation of congressional seats and the distribution of billions of federal dollars to states and localities. RELATED: What you need to know about the census controversyThe question has not been asked of all recipients since 1950.The Supreme Court is currently debating whether or not the Trump administration is allowed to include the citizenship question in a lawsuit on procedural grounds. Challengers, including 18 states, say Commerce Secretary William Ross violated the federal law that governs the way that agencies can propose and establish regulations. Lower courts have ruled against the administration.Should the language, included in the spending bill for the Commerce and Justice departments, somehow be signed by Trump, it could supersede a Supreme Court ruling solely on the procedural question. The House Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies appropriations subcommittee released the bill Thursday and is scheduled to vote Friday.Immigration judgesThe spending bill also seeks to block the Justice Department from using quotas to evaluate immigration judges on how many cases they take and close.Judges and advocates say the effort from the Justice Department, which oversees the immigration courts, potentially jeopardizes the courts' fairness and lead to far more deportations. The courts have been beset by massive backlogs on dockets, resulting in cases sometimes taking years to be closed. The Trump administration has been looking to accelerate the process as well as hire more immigration judges. Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-South Carolina, introduced a bill Wednesday that calls for 500 additional judges.

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