Immigration activists have said they are open to negotiating with US President Donald Trump to avoid the "panic" caused by discussions over the future for undocumented immigrants.

Such negotiations could mean abandoning the option of a pathway to legal citizenship for undocumented immigrants, something the founder of immigration advocacy group Define American said might be an element of the compromise they would have to accept.

"This is a different level of panic and fear in our families that I don't think we can take anything off the table," Jose Antonio Vargas told The Hill.

Trump himself indicated there may be something of a softening towards undocumented migrants living in the US during his first ever joint session address to Congress.

The president's formerly fiery rhetoric on immediately deporting people appears to have been replaced with a system whereby undocumented citizens may have the possibility of working and paying taxes — although it will not be a path to citizenship.

In his speech, Trump did not go into detail on what a compromise on immigration could look like – but said he was interested in working with Democrats to find a deal agreeable to both parties, stating "the time is right" to do so.

US President Donald Trump
US President Donald Trump signing an executive order at the Oval OfficeGetty Images

However, on aspects of his immigration plans, Trump appears unwilling to reach such a compromise. Talks are continuing over the construction of a wall on the US southern border with Mexico, while a planned revision of Trump's controversial "travel ban" will be released shortly.