Trump: 'The time is right for an immigration bill'

Trump: 'The time is right for an immigration bill'
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President Trump may urge lawmakers to pass a compromise immigration reform bill during his speech to a joint session of Congress Tuesday night.. 

Trump told a group of television anchors he believes a major immigration bill is necessary but would require Republicans and Democrats to make significant trade-offs.

"The time is right for an immigration bill as long as there is compromise on both sides," Trump said, according to CNN's Jake Tapper.

Trump envisions a proposal that would allow some undocumented immigrants to live and work in the U.S. without fear of deportation, but would stop short of offering them a pathway to citizenship.

Such a move would be a departure from the hardline stance on illegal immigration Trump has taken thus far in his presidency. 

At Trump’s direction, the federal government adopted strict new rules intended to ramp up deportations of immigrants living illegally in the U.S. 

He also handed down an executive order temporarily banning travel and immigration from seven Muslim-majority nations, which was later blocked by a federal court. Trump has said he will unveil a new proposal soon. 

Three of the guests who are sitting in first lady Melania Trump's box for the president's speech to Congress are relatives of people killed by undocumented immigrants.

Pushing for a comprehensive reform bill could anger Trump's base, which favors a get-tough approach on illegal immigration. But Trump reportedly believes he could make both sides happy. 

Trump flirted with a comprehensive immigration bill earlier this month, when he told a group of bipartisan senators he was interested in them working on a bill.

White House press secretary Sean Spicer later denied Trump was open to a measure like the Gang of Eight bill from 2013, which would have offered a pathway to citizenship in exchange for enhanced border security measures. 

- Updated at 3:21 p.m.