President Donald Trump has expressed frustration over efforts of some US lawmakers to protect immigrants from Haiti and African countries, asking why America should accept citizens from "shithole" countries, triggering protests.
"Why are we having all these people from shithole countries come here?" Trump was quoted by multiple media reports.
His comments, which has been slammed by Democratic lawmakers, was first reported by The Washington Post.
Trump, according to a White House official, also suggested he would be open to more immigrants from Asian countries because he felt they help the US economically, The report said.
Notably, Trump has been calling for merit-based immigration, of which people from countries like India could be a major beneficiary.
Trump said this during a bipartisan meeting of lawmakers in his Oval Office.
"Certain Washington politicians choose to fight for foreign countries, but President Trump will always fight for the American people," said Raj Shah, the Principal Deputy White House Press Secretary without directly referring to Trump's comments.
Trump has been seeking to end temporary protection status of people from certain countries.
Several Democratic lawmakers slammed Trump for his comments and described them as racist comment.
"President Trump's comments are racist and a disgrace. They do not reflect our nations values. Immigrants from throughout the world of all races, nationalities, and religions have built this country and are contributing today to its improvement," said House Democratic Whip Steny H Hoyer.
"These comments clearly reflect the President's true feelings on immigrants and make it extremely doubtful that he will work in an honest, decent way that reflects Americas best values on legislation to protect DREAMers," Hoyer said.
"As an American, I am ashamed of the president. His comments are disappointing, unbelievable, but not surprising. We always knew that president Trump doesnt like people from certain countries or people or certain colors," alleged Democratic Congressman Luis Gutierrez.
"Language like that shouldn't be heard in locker rooms and it shouldn't be heard in the White House," said Congresswoman Ilena Ros-Lehtinen.
In a statement, Shah said the President will only accept an immigration deal that adequately addresses the visa lottery system and chain migration two programs that hurt American economy and allow terrorists into the country.
"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.
"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," Shah said in response to a question.
Earlier in the day, in an interview to The Wall Street Journal, Trump asserted that he will not accept any immigration deal that does not hasa provision to build a wall along the Mexico border.
"We have to have a wall. We don't have a wall, we are not doing the deal," he reiterated.
Trump, who has had a series of meeting with lawmakers on immigration reform over the past several days, said he has a good chance to make a deal.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)