Trump: Immigration Deal Presented Thursday 'Was A Big Step Backwards'

By Susan Jones | January 12, 2018 | 8:17am EST
(Photo: C-SPAN screen grab)

( - Addressing the controversy over his "shithole countries" remark, President Trump on Friday morning issued the following statement in four tweets:

The so-called bipartisan DACA deal presented yesterday to myself and a group of Republican Senators and Congressmen was a big step backwards. Wall was not properly funded, Chain & Lottery were made worse and USA would be forced to take large numbers of people from high crime countries which are doing badly. I want a merit based system of immigration and people who will help take our country to the next level. I want safety and security for our people. I want to stop the massive inflow of drugs. I want to fund our military, not do a Dem defund. Because of the Democrats not being interested in life and safety, DACA has now taken a big step backwards. The Dems will threaten “shutdown,” but what they are really doing is shutting down our military, at a time we need it most. Get smart, MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN! The language used by me at the DACA meeting was tough, but this was not the language used. What was really tough was the outlandish proposal made - a big setback for DACA!

In a bipartisan meeting at the White House Thursday, Trump reportedly asked, “Why are we having all these people from shithole countries come here?”  The Washington Post, quoting sources at the meeting, said the president wondered why the U.S. doesn't take more people from Norway and fewer from Haiti.

His many critics, including those on cable network, called the president a racist (again); his defenders said Trump was being honest about what is best for the United States.

On Thursday, six U.S. senators -- Republicans Lindsey Graham, Jeff Flake, Cory Gardner and Democrats Dick Durbin, Michael Bennet, and Robert Menendez – announced they have reached a bipartisan agreement on immigration.

But Trump didn't like what they presented to him.

According to The Washington Times, the deal offered Mr. Trump less than 10 percent of his border wall, and only a 3 percent cut to existing paths of family-based chain migration.

It would have eliminated the Diversity Visa Lottery, but it would have taken those 50,000 annual lottery visas and used them to create a new pathway to citizenship for hundreds of thousands of foreigners in the U.S. under temporary humanitarian protections (TPS).

The majority of those TPS immigrants are from countries such as El Salvador, Haiti and Honduras, and -- according to the Times -- "the demand that they be covered in any immigration deal appeared to irk the president." (It was in this context that he made the "shithole countries" comment.)

The DACA fix offered by Durbin-Graham et al reportedly includes a 12-year pathway to citizenship for dreamers, who would be able to sponsor relatives for temporary legal status in the United States.

Earlier this week, in his televised meeting with Republicans and Democrats, Trump laid out his non-negotiable elements of immigration reform:

"Any legislation on DACA must secure the border with a wall, it must give our immigration officers the resources they need to stop illegal immigration, and also to stop visa overstays, and crucially, the legislation must end chain migration. It must end the visa lottery. Dangerous," Trump said.

He said those conditions must be met if he agrees to go along with permanent legal status for DACA enrollees, as Democrats are demanding.

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