Trump questions taking immigrants from certain countries

Trump reportedly asks why U.S. should accept immigrants from “s**thole countries”. White House: He will always fight for Americans.

Ben Ariel ,

Donald Trump
Donald Trump

U.S. President Donald Trump on Thursday asked participants in an Oval Office meeting why the United States should accept immigrants from “s**thole countries” in Africa, Central America and the Caribbean, U.S. media reported.

“What do we want Haitians here for?” the president asked, according to two people briefed on the meeting who were quoted by The Los Angeles Times. “Why do we want all these people from Africa here? Why do we want all these people from s**thole countries?"

"We should have people from places like Norway," he reportedly added.

According to the report, the meeting at which the comments were made dealt with a bipartisan compromise to resolve the standoff over so-called Dreamers, which Trump rejected.

Asked about the president’s use of the slur, the White House did not deny he had made it, but issued a statement saying Trump would “always fight for the American people.”

“Certain Washington politicians choose to fight for foreign countries, but President Trump will always fight for the American people,” said White House spokesman Raj Shah in a statement quoted by The Washington Post. “

“Like other nations that have merit-based immigration, President Trump is fighting for permanent solutions that make our country stronger by welcoming those who can contribute to our society, grow our economy and assimilate into our great nation,” the spokesman added.

In September, Trump rescinded the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which protected approximately 800,000 illegal immigrants who arrived in the U.S. as minors from deportation.

Subsequent reports indicated Trump may be open to legalizing some 800,000 illegal immigrants in the United States in exchange for Democratic support in funding a border wall on America’s southern frontier.

Outlining a potential bipartisan deal on Thursday, the lawmakers who met with Trump discussed restoring protections for countries that have been removed from the temporary protected status program while adding $1.5 billion for a border wall and making changes to the visa lottery system.

Trump had seemed amenable to a deal earlier in the day during phone calls, aides said, but shifted his position in the meeting and did not seem interested, according to The Washington Post.

His “s**thole” statement was met with quick condemnation.

“Immigrants from countries across the globe — including and especially those from Haiti and all parts of Africa — have helped build this country. They should be welcomed and celebrated, not demeaned and insulted,” said Senator Kamala Harris (D-CA), according to The LA Times.

Former Mexican President Vicente Fox, who has frequently sparred with Trump over his negative comments about Mexico, tweeted, “Your mouth is the foulest s**thole in the world.”

Albert Saint Jean, a Haitian-American organizer with the New York-based Black Alliance for Just Immigration, called Trump's comments "appalling" and "insulting."

Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD) condemned the comments as “racist”.

Since taking office a year ago, Trump has sought to enforce a temporary travel ban into the U.S. from several Muslim majority countries, due to concerns over terrorism, until proper vetting measures are implementing.

Two of his earlier bans were impeded by several courts before he announced an updated measure in September which applies to travelers from Chad, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria and Yemen.

Last month, the United States Supreme Court permitted the Trump administration to fully enforce the ban, after a judge in Hawaii ordered a freeze on the travel ban, saying it suffers from the same maladies as the previous order.