President Donald Trump’s “shithole countries” comments ricocheted around the world, spurring criticism from U.S. allies, rebuttals from Americans with roots in those countries and condemnation from some in his own party.
Lost in the furor over his “shithole” comment is the argument that Trump was making at the time.
The White House held the meeting to discuss a bipartisan immigration deal that would help undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. as children who got relief under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival program, foreign nationals who fled manmade and natural disasters and received temporary protected status (TPS) in the U.S. and immigrants seeking to come to the U.S. through a diversity lottery.
That’s a lot to unpack, so we’ll walk through these one at a time. But here’s the short version: If you are upset about Trump calling African nations “shithole countries” and disparaging Haitians, you probably won’t like what he was proposing either.
(Note: Trump denies using the exact phrase “shithole countries,” though Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin, who was in the meeting, confirmed Friday morning that he said it “repeatedly.”)
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!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 12, 2018
As part of a harsher approach to immigration, the Trump Administration has sought to end TPS, or temporary protected status, for several groups of people who have been living in the United States for years:
• 200,000 people who fled El Salvador during a deadly civil war in 1990 and after a catastrophic earthquake in 2001,
• 58,000 people who fled Haiti after a deadly 2010 earthquake,
• 57,000 people who fled Honduras after a devastating hurricane in 1999, and
• 2,500 people who fled Nicaragua after the same hurricane
As the name implies, TPS was originally designed to allow refugees to stay in the U.S. for a short time, and it has to be renewed every 18 months. But since conditions have often not improved and ending the protection could pose a political risk, past administrations have typically done so.
That means some of these residents — who do not have a special pathway to becoming U.S. citizens — have lived here for decades, sometimes marrying U.S. citizens and raising American-born children.
Trump’s revocation of temporary protected status for these four…