Just hours before Donald Trump is set to deliver his first address to Congress, the New York Times and CNN are reporting that he wants to explore creating a pathway to citizenship for millions of undocumented immigrants.
"The time is right for an immigration bill as long as there is compromise on both sides," he told reporters today.
This abrupt shift in policy comes as a surprise to many people, including his own staff: the New York Times notes that deputy press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders did not dispute the report but was unable to confirm it.
And, so far, the reaction seems to be extreme skepticism.
"It’s important to look at Trump’s actions, not just his latest words, when it comes to what he intends to do," Van Le of immigration-reform group America's Voice commented. "There’s no grounds to take off-the record talk about a Trump immigration bill seriously unless he drastically alters his mass deportation agenda."
Here's a sampling of the immediate response on Twitter:
I'll believe it when I hear it, but if Trump does this, he doesn't just burn his bridges, he nukes them. https://t.co/6H5un0EnH9— (((Mark Krikorian))) (@MarkSKrikorian) February 28, 2017
Word of caution on the WH immigration news. Will matter more if the call makes it into the speech tonight.— Chuck Todd (@chucktodd) February 28, 2017
Trump said during the campaign: "They have to go" about the 11M undocumented. Now a WH source talks of legalization. Really? Which is true?— JORGE RAMOS (@jorgeramosnews) February 28, 2017
Keep Phoenix New Times Free... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Phoenix with no paywalls.