January 12, 2018
On Thursday, January 11, President Trump reportedly asked during a bipartisan meeting on immigration reform, “Why are we having people from all of these shithole countries here?” in reference to Haiti, El Salvador, and African countries. Trump would later go on to say that Haitians should be left out of any future immigration legislation. Following these remarks, Trump suggested that the United States bring in more people from countries like Norway, or from Asian countries, who he deemed would support and strengthen the country’s economy.
To further complicate the situation, lawmakers who were present at the meeting, like Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen, and the President himself, are denying that he ever used the term “shithole” to describe the aforementioned nations that were brought up specifically in regard to Temporary Protected Status (TPS) removals enacted by the Department of Homeland Security last week and in November.
From a lawmaking standpoint, in addition to feeling discouraged about the prospects of reaching a bipartisan deal on immigration, members of Congress are also concerned that the contested debate over immigration policy could result in a government shutdown as deadlines loom with no compromise. More specifically, this means that if lawmakers cannot agree on a budget for this fiscal year, many federal agencies will cease activity after midnight on Friday indefinitely until a spending bill is agreed upon by Democrats and Republicans alike.
From a humanistic standpoint, this rhetoric used by the President demonstrates his normalization of racism and bigotry in public spheres. Trump supporters laud their leader for using language they themselves would use to describe the aforementioned countries from the likes of Ann Coulter and Rush Limbaugh. Should the President continue to use this language, more acts of hate and violence will persist, and the reality of reaching a deal on programs like DACA, TPS, and the Diversity Visa Lottery Program, will cease to exist.
- Act with America’s Voice: America’s Voice is a progressive immigration reform nonprofit that advocates for full and equal rights of all immigrants. The organization runs numerous campaigns, maps incidents of hate against people of color, and assists with voter registration, amongst other activities essential to promoting equity for immigrant lives in the United States. You can make a contribution to America’s Voice here.
- Support the New Americans Campaign: The New Americans Campaign is a national, nonpartisan network of immigrant organizations, legal service providers, faith-based organizations, faith-based organizations, immigrant rights groups, foundations, and community leaders. A project by the Immigration Legal Resource Center, the campaign is committed to connecting lawful permanent residents to trusted legal assistance. Click here to support the campaign.
- Stay Up to Date with the National Immigration Forum: The National Immigration Forum is a DC-based nonprofit that leads the nation in constructive conversation and advocacy for the value of immigrants and immigration. The Forum is currently running a program called Immigration 2020, a multi-constituency effort to ensure that new Americans have the opportunities, skills, and status they need to contribute to the United States and realize their maximum potential. Join the organization’s email list to stay up to date on all things related to immigration policy.
This brief was compiled by Allie Blum. If you have comments or want to add the name of your organization to this brief please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.