Friday, 12 January 2018

Trump under fire after describing immigrants from Africa and Haiti as coming from “shithole countries”

United States President Donald Trump is currently under fire after reportedly describing immigrants from Africa and Haiti as coming from “shithole countries”

On Thursday, Trump questioned why the US would want to have immigrants from Haiti and African nations, instead suggesting the US should bring more immigrants from Norway, whose prime minister he had met on Wednesday.




According to a report in the Washington Post, Trump said “Why are we having all these people from shithole countries come here?” after he had been presented with a proposal to restore protections for immigrants from El Salvador, Haiti and certain African nations as part of a bipartisan immigration deal.

One of the sources who was briefed on the conversation said that Trump said, “Why do we want all these people from Africa here?

“They’re shithole countries … We should have more people from Norway.”

The second source familiar with the conversation, said Trump, who has vowed to clamp down on illegal immigration, also questioned the need for Haitians in the United States.

Many Democrats and some Republican lawmakers slammed the president for his remarks.

Republican U.S. 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”.

Love 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.”

Democratic Senator Richard Blumenthal, a frequent Trump critic, said the president’s comment “smacks of blatant racism, the most odious and insidious racism masquerading poorly as immigration policy.”

The United Nations human rights office has led global condemnation of the US president.

“There is no other word one can use but racist,” the UN human rights spokesman, Rupert Colville, told a Geneva news briefing. “You cannot dismiss entire countries and continents as ‘shitholes’, whose entire populations, who are not white, are therefore not welcome.”

The African Union said it was “frankly alarmed” by Trump’s language. “Given the historical reality of how many Africans arrived in the United States as slaves, this statement flies in the face of all accepted behaviour and practice,” AU spokeswoman Ebba Kalondo told the Associated Press. “This is particularly surprising as the United States of America remains a global example of how migration gave birth to a nation built on strong values of diversity and opportunity.”

The former Haitian president Laurent Lamothe also expressed his dismay, saying the US president’s remark “shows a lack of respect and ignorance”. The Haitian ambassador to the US, Paul Altidor, said Trump’s views were “based on stereotypes”.

Mexico’s former president, Vicente Fox, who has been an outspoken critic of Trump, said in a tweet that “America’s greatness was built on diversity”.

In an apparent response to his critics, Trump took to Twitter late on Thursday night.

Trump tweeted: “The Democrats seem intent on having people and drugs pour into our country from the Southern Border, risking thousands of lives in the process.

“It is my duty to protect the lives and safety of all Americans. We must build a Great Wall, think Merit and end Lottery & Chain. USA!”


The programme that was being discussed at the White House is called Temporary Protected Status.

In November, the Trump administration decided to end the status for immigrants from Haiti and Nicaragua.

It gave the approximately 59,000 Haitian immigrants who had been granted the status until July 2019 to return home or legalise their presence in the U.S.

Nicaraguans were given until January 2019.

On Monday, Trump moved to end the status for immigrants from El Salvador, which could result in 200,000 Salvadorans legally in the United States being deported, beginning in September of 2019.


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