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Andrew Harnik / AP

Don't get too excited about the idea that President Trump is having a last-minute conversion to Jeb Bush-style immigration reform. We've been talking with conservatives in his orbit, and here's what you need to understand about how Trump and Attorney General Jeff Sessions view the issue:

  1. The people who are in this country illegally who haven't committed crimes have always been viewed as points of leverage in a negotiation over immigration, whether that's border security or any other deal that can be struck with Congress. As we've seen in the opening weeks of his administration, Trump is also willing to use existing law to get started on deportations without Congress.
  2. But that bargaining chip is down the road, and Trumpworld is wary about the example of Ronald Reagan, who is remembered by populist conservatives for allowing an amnesty before locking down better immigration enforcement.
  3. When Trump talks about comprehensive immigration reform, it's not on the terms of the Gang of 8. His orbit believes any deal will include extreme vetting and border security.
  4. Remember Trump's trip to Mexico, where Trump said nice things to President Nieto and then went to Arizona and delivered one of the most red meat speeches of his campaign.

Remember: People will hear what they want to hear from Trump tonight, particularly on immigration. Some can take away that he's converting to Marco Rubio or Lindsey Graham-style conservatism, but his people still believe any immigration deal will be on the terms he set on the campaign.

Go deeper

Focus group: Red flags for Biden infrastructure plan

Illustration: Rae Cook/Axios

Some swing voters say President Biden needs to better explain who'll pay for his $2 trillion infrastructure plan — and they'll only back bipartisan legislation that's paid for by corporations, not the middle class.

Why it matters: These takeaways from our latest Engagious/Schlesinger focus groups offer crucial context for an administration basing much of its legislative strategy on polls showing Americans notionally favor spending on roads, bridges, job training and broadband access.

Polish leader says U.S. must show democracy's resilience

Radosław Sikorski. Photo: Beata Zawrzel/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Donald Trump's tumultuous presidency and the Jan. 6 Capitol assault are signals that people are “less enamored” by democracy, a former Polish foreign minister who has the ear of the White House and Congress tells Axios.

Why it matters: Radosław Sikorski, currently a member of the European Parliament, said it’s critical that democratic countries like the U.S. now showcase their resilience to the world.