United States President Donald Trump reportedly lashed out in a meeting with lawmakers about immigration reform, demanding to know why the U.S. should accept citizens from what he called "s***hole" countries, such as Haiti and El Salvador, as well as African nations.
"Why are we having all these people from shithole countries come here?" the Washington Post quoted him as saying, in remarks first reported to be about Haiti, El Salvador and African nations.
"Yesterday Senator Durbin and I met with President Trump at the White House to discuss our bipartisan proposal on border security and immigration".
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"He said these hate-filled things and he said them repeatedly", Durbin said during a press conference at an MLK breakfast Friday. "They're shithole countries. We should have more people from Norway", according to one source briefed on the conversation. "It is not true".
In an apparent response to the criticism, Mr Trump took to Twitter late on Thursday night.
DACA protects hundreds of thousands of young undocumented immigrants brought to the United States as children from deportation.
El Salvador says it has sent a diplomatic protest note to the United States expressing the country's "resounding rejection" of Mr Trump's remarks. The president and his allies have said the USA should move to a "merit-based" system rather than admitting people based on family ties, referring to anyone but spouses and minor children as "extended family".
Mr Trump's alleged comment has caused a backlash among Haitians and people across Africa.
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Paul Altidor, Haiti's ambassador to Washington, said it was distressing that attention was drawn to the president's reported comments on Friday, the eighth anniversary of a massive natural disaster believed to have killed 220,000 people on the island, which should be a day of remembrance. "Probably should record future meetings - unfortunately, no trust!"
"He said, 'Haitians, do we need more Haitians?'" Durbin said.
Trump has repeatedly called for ending chain migration and replacing it with a legal immigration system that brings immigrants to the U.S.in lower levels and based on their merit, English proficiency skills, and ability to readily assimilate to American culture. Trump said, according to media accounts and Democratic Sen.
As an immigrant justice advocate, I of course want legal status for everyone trying to make it in this country. John Cornyn, the No. 2 Senate Republican, reiterated on Thursday after the White House meeting that a deal would only move for a vote with a clear message from the President that he would sign it.
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