Lawmakers angry over Trump's expletive on immigrants

Trump's comments, made in the White House, came as Democratic Senator Dick Durbin and Republican Senator Lindsey Graham briefed the president on a newly drafted immigration bill being touted by a bipartisan group of senators. Photograph:( AFP )

WION Web Team New Delhi, Delhi, India Jan 12, 2018, 01.25 AM (IST)

President Donald Trump on Thursday questioned why the United States would want to have immigrants from Haiti and African nations, referring to some as "shithole countries".

"Why do we want all these people from Africa here? They're shithole countries ... We should have more people from Norway" he said. He further slammed the need for Haitians in the United States.

Trump's comments, made in the White House, came as Democratic Senator Dick Durbin and Republican Senator Lindsey Graham informed the president on a newly drafted immigration bill under works by a bipartisan group of senators.

The lawmakers were discussing how certain immigration programs work, including one to give safe haven in the United States to people from countries suffering from natural disasters and similar issues.

Many Democrats and some Republican lawmakers took to Twitter and lashed out at Trump. 

Senator David Gergen said called Trump a bull carrying "around his own china shop".

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Lawyer David Leopold said that "With his #Shithole countries slur Trump has confirmed what those of us who work in #immigration law & policy have known since early last year; the Administration's draconian #immigration enforcement crackdown is a racist policy aimed at immigrants of color."

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Democratic Senator Richard Blumenthal, a frequent Trump critic, also took to Twitter to express his thoughts. 

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Republican US Representative Mia Love, a daughter of Haitian immigrants, said the comments were "unkind, divisive, elitist, and fly in the face of our nation`s values" and called on Trump to apologise to the American people and to the countries he denigrated.

Another Republican Representative, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, who was born in Cuba and whose south Florida district includes many Haitian immigrants, said: "Language like that shouldn`t be heard in locker rooms and it shouldn`t be heard in the White House."

Trump had moved to end the status for immigrants from El Salvador, which could result in 200,000 Salvadorans legally in the United States being deported, and other countries.

The bipartisan Senate plan would attempt to maintain TPS in return for ending or changing a "diversity" lottery programme that has been aimed at allowing up to 50,000 people a year from countries with few emigres to the United States. 

Asked about Trump's quips, White House spokesman Raj Shah said: "Certain Washington politicians choose to fight for foreign countries, but President Trump will always fight for the American people."

"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," Shah said.

Trump questioned why the United States should take in unskilled labourers from the countries under discussion and should instead welcome immigrants from nations that can offer skilled workers.

The source said Trump did not intend any slur.

 

(With agency inputs)