President Donald Trump reportedly asked why the US should accept immigrants from "shithole countries," referring to Haiti, El Salvador, and African nations.
President Donald Trump reportedly questioned in a White House meeting on Thursday why the United States should accept immigrants from "shithole countries," referring to Haiti, El Salvador, and African nations.
"Why are we having all these people from shithole countries come here?" Trump said, according to a Washington Post report citing two sources briefed on the meeting.
Trump then reportedly suggested the US instead accept immigrants from nations like Norway, whose prime minister he met with on Wednesday.
The comment came during negotiations on immigration with a bipartisan group of lawmakers seeking to resolve the fate of a group of young immigrants whose protection from deportation under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program is being phased out by the Trump administration.
The lawmakers had suggested that a US visa lottery program that provides roughly 50,000 visas annually to citizens of countries with historically low rates of immigration to the US be partially reallocated to immigrants already living in the US whose protections under a humanitarian program the Trump administration is terminating.
The White House announced earlier this week it would end Temporary Protected Status for 200,000 Salvadorans who were allowed to live and work in the US legally after two severe earthquakes hit their home country in 2001.
The Trump administration has also ended TPS for 45,000 Haitians and 2,500 Nicaraguans. The program also covers immigrants from Honduras, Somalia, Sudan, South Sudan, Syria, and Yemen.
A statement from Raj Shah, a deputy White House press secretary, did not deny that Trump made the comments.
"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.
Shah added: "He will always reject temporary, weak and dangerous stopgap measures that threaten the lives of hardworking Americans, and undercut immigrants who seek a better life in the United States through a legal pathway."
Previous reports have quoted Trump as assailing immigrants from Haiti and African countries.
The New York Times reported last year that Trump became enraged at a June meeting over the number of visas awarded to citizens of certain nations, grumbling that 15,000 Haitians who entered the US in the preceding months "all have AIDS" and that the 40,000 Nigerians would never "go back to their huts" in Africa.