U.S. President Donald Trump is considering introducing legislation to provide a pathway to legal status, but not immediately to citizenship, for undocumented immigrants who have not committed serious crimes, CNN reported Tuesday, citing a senior White House official.
CNN said the president thinks a comprehensive immigration bill that would allow undocumented immigrants to hold a job and require them to pay taxes has a chance of clearing Congress, and it said Trump may refer to the idea of legislation in a speech Tuesday night.
“The time is right for an immigration bill as long as there is compromise on both sides,” Trump reportedly told TV anchors at the White House shortly before his first address to Congress.
When the New York Times asked Trump’s deputy pres s secretary, though, she said that she had not heard his speech.
“The president has been very clear in his process that the immigration system is broken and needs massive reform, and he’s made clear that he’s open to having conversations about that moving forward,” Sarah Huckabee Sanders said. “Right now, his primary focus, as he has made over and over again is border control and security at the border and deporting criminals from our country, and keeping our country safe, and those priorities have not changed.”
CNN also cited officials that said he is looking for a negotiation and "a softening on both sides." They also said that some Democrats are prepared to work with Trump on a comprehensive immigration reform bill, a goal that has been set by many administrations past but never completed.
Trump's announcement represents a significant shift in his previous messages, which have caused panic in immigrant communities for promising to go after anyone with a criminal record, from traffic infractions to medical marijuana licenses.
A potential policy, which would have to pass the Republican-held Congress, would likely only apply to "Dreamers," a narrowly-defined category of students who came to the country at a young age, reported CNN.