The basic outlines of a bipartisan immigration deal have been clear ever since Reagan did the first one back in the 80s: tougher enforcement of border controls and employment checks in exchange for lenient treatment of some group of people already here. But lately many Republicans have refused to sign onto any deal because they just don't believe anyone else is serious about controlling the border, leaving them feeling like they're accepting amnesty in return for nothing.
Trump dropped hints yesterday that he might be willing to do such a deal, and Charles Krauthammer called this a "Nixon to China" moment. The idea would be that if anyone can convince anti-immigration Americans that this is the best deal they're going to get, it would be Trump. I imagine the deal would include Trump's "wall," tougher treatment of people caught trying to sneak in, immediate expulsion for any immigrant convicted of a serious crime, etc., in exchange for the provisions of Obama's Dream Act – which allows immigrants who were brought here as children to become citizens if they graduate from college or serve in the military – and maybe permanent residency for a few million of the illegal immigrants who have been here the longest and put together the best records.
If Trump can pull this off, I will be impressed, because it won't be easy. And I wonder how much it would cost him with his most ardent supporters?