How likely is Congress to pass immigration reform legislation before the November mid-term election and what happens if they don't? Watch for some insights from NUmbersUSA Deputy Director Chris Chmielenski.
As Americans debate the separation of illegal immigrant children from their parents at the US southern border, they may be overlooking details of two big immigration votes coming this week in Washington.
The House of Representatives has scheduled votes on two bills by the end of this week and President Trump says he's likely to sign them if passed by Congress.
"He said if they get through the House and Senate he'll sign both which has made for an interesting situation because you have two bills that the president supports," explained Chris Chmielenski, deputy director of NumbersUSA.
Chmielenski said there are some stark differences between the two proposals and he is pessimistic about their chances of gaining congressional approval.
"It doesn't look like either one as of right now has the votes to pass through the House which means there is no way they're going to get through the Senate," he predicted. If neither bill is approved, then any chance for immigration reform legislation before the 2018 mid-term election is "probably dead."
NumbersUSA is an educational and research foundation focused on the numerical level of US immigration. The foundation says currently one million people are allowed into the United States through the legal immigration system each year.
"That's mostly driven through the chain migration categories… the president has called for an end to that…I doubt any of that will happen. The visa lottery will still remain in place," Chmielenski said.
Chain migration is a system which grants legal immigration status to extended family members—aunts, uncles, and cousins in addition to immediate family members. The Diversity Visa Lottery program is a system that allows the names of 100,000 applicants from countries with low immigration rates to be drawn at random and 50,000 are granted green cards.
Chmielenski said those features of US immigration policies will remain if immigration reform is not passed by Congress.
"And…if nothing passes at the end of this week I don't think anything will get done. I think this will really be the last major crack at trying to reform the immigration system before the mid-terms," he explained.