President Trump is considering pushing for a comprehensive immigration reform package that could provide a path to citizenship for some illegal immigrants, reporters were told during a White House meeting on Tuesday.
A senior administration official provided details of the plan during a background briefing with network news anchors who met with Trump for lunch at the White House ahead of his speech to Congress.
According to reporters who were in the briefing, Trump may even discuss the immigration proposal during the speech. CNN first reported on the briefing, and Fox News followed. Anchors from both networks attended the luncheon.
According to CNN’s write-up of the briefing, the senior administration official said that Trump is calling for “a softening on both sides” of the immigration issue.
“There’s got to be a coming together,” the official said.
According to the official, Trump’s plan will not offer a path to citizenship for all illegal immigrants. However, Dreamers, the term used for people who were brought to the U.S. illegally as children, could potentially obtain citizenship under the proposal.
The official also said that Trump believes that illegal immigrants who have not committed serious crimes could potentially remain in the U.S. illegally while holding jobs and paying taxes.
According to CNN, Trump believes that such a proposal would not upset his political base. That claim will surely be tested should Trump propose the reform package. The Republican’s core supporters generally strongly oppose comprehensive immigration reform. Much of Trump’s base was highly critical of the 2013 “Gang of Eight” bill which attempted to enact comprehensive immigration reform.
“It has to be a negotiation,” the official told the reporters, adding that elements of the law would please the “far right” and “far left.”
“It could be good for everyone,” the official said.
Fox News’ Chris Wallace, who was at the luncheon and briefing, said that the senior administration official’s remarks “came as kind of a surprise.”