JULIE HIRSCHFELD DAVIS, MICHAEL D. SHEAR and PETER BAKER report in the NY Times:
“WASHINGTON — President Trump, signaling a potential major shift in policy, told news anchors on Tuesday that he is open to a broad immigration overhaul that would grant legal status to millions of undocumented immigrants who have not committed serious crimes.
“The time is right for an immigration bill as long as there is compromise on both sides,” the president told the TV anchors at the White House, according to people present during the discussion. The people requested anonymity because they were not authorized to speak about the private meeting.
The idea is a sharp break from the broad crackdown on undocumented immigrants that Mr. Trump has taken in his first weeks in office and the hardline positions embraced by his core supporters that helped sweep him into the White House. The president hinted at the reversal just hours before he was to deliver his first address to Congress, although it was not clear whether he would mention it in his speech.
A move toward a comprehensive immigration overhaul would be a dramatic turnaround for the president, whose campaign rallies rang with shouts of “build the wall!” on the Mexican border and who signed an executive order last month directing the deportation of any undocumented immigrant who has committed a crime — whether or not they have been charged — or falsified any document. The standard could apply to virtually any one of the estimated 11 million people in the country illegally.”
This report was published before the President’s speech to Congress tonight. We might, or might not, get more details in the speech.
Reaching a compromise on immigration would be “smart governing” by the Administration. It would push most of the responsibility for formulating sound immigration policy back where it belongs — Congress. Additionally, reform that allows those undocumented individuals with good records to remain in the United States could potentially clear much of the backlog of the overwhelmed U.S. Immigration Courts, thereby clearing the way for the Administration to work on its “criminal priorities” and for the Immigration Courts to concentrate on providing full due process to those placed in the removal process.
Update from the Washington Post:
“He also pressed his policies on immigration, including his controversial proposal to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.
“We want all Americans to succeed —- but that can’t happen in an environment of lawless chaos. We must restore integrity and the rule of law at our borders,” said Trump. “For that reason, we will soon begin the construction of a great wall along our southern border. It will be started ahead of schedule and, when finished, it will be a very effective weapon against drugs and crime.”
Trump challenged members of Congress who disagree with him: “I would ask you this question: what would you say to the American family that loses their jobs, their income, or a loved one, because America refused to uphold its laws and defend its borders?”
He did call for Republicans and Democrats to work toward reforming the immigration system into a merit-based program focused on the “well-being of American citizens.”
Trump argued that the country’s current focus on low-skilled immigration hurts American workers and strains the country’s finances.
The comments come hours after Trump said in a meeting with journalists that he would support comprehensive immigration reform efforts with a pathway to legalization for law abiding immigrants.
At his remarks before Congress, Trump did not specify the parameters of a compromise he would be willing to accept. But he outlined a preference for a system that favors immigrants who are able to support themselves financially.
“I believe that real and positive immigration reform is possible, as long as we focus on the following goals: to improve jobs and wages for Americans, to strengthen our nation’s security, and to restore respect for our laws,” Trump said.”
Here’s the complete Post article: