He supposedly made these remarks, several times, during a meeting with Congressional leaders who were focused on DACA and immigration reform.
When the conversation came around to Haiti and Nigeria, the president allegedly said, "Why would we want these people from sh**hole countries?"
The remarks came at a time when close to 800,000 DACA immigrants are a few weeks away from being deported. Last week the current administration in Washington decided to deport 200,000 Salvadorian refugees. In many cases to their death upon return.
The president spoke about welcoming immigrants from Norway. I'm not sure that the president realizes seventy-two percent of Norway's population growth in recent years was due to immigration.
Yet, Norway is a country that is economically healthy.
In fact, according to the World Economic Forum, it has the lowest economic inequality in the world.
Norway is also know for its socio-economically diverse schools, coming in second worldwide for the countries that the World Economic Forum (WEF) tracks.
The WEF points out that one key to Norway's success is its diversity. Immigration hasn't damaged the Norwegian economy, it has strengthened it.
So, the bottom line is that, most likely without much thought on the subject, the president pointed to a country that was a perfect example of the benefits of immigration.
Tyler Cowen, an economics professor at George Mason University in an opinion piece written for Bloomberg View stated that "One of the most striking facts, unbeknownst even to many immigration advocates, is the superior education of Africans coming to this country. Of adults ages 25 or older born in Africa and living here, 41.7 percent have a bachelor's degree or more, according to 2009 data." This compares to a rate of 28.1 percent among native-born US residents. And the estimated percent of African-born migrants without a high school diploma is 11.7. About 11.4 percent of native-born US residents do not have a high school diploma.
Cowen continues, "Consider Nigerian-Americans, Nigeria being Africa's most populous nation. Their education levels are among the highest in the US, above those of Asians, with 17 percent having a master's degree."
This week we celebrate the birth of Martin Luther King, Jr., and later this year we will mark the fiftieth anniversary of his assassination. Here's a few quotes from him:
"Darkness cannot drive out darkness. Only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate. Only love can do that."
"The time is always right to what is right."
"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere."
"Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter."
"I look to a day when people will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character."
"The ultimate measure of a person is not where they stand in moments of comfort and convenience, but where they stand in moments of challenge and controversy."
The New York Times covered the response of blacks in the US to the president's remarks. Here's what some of them said:
"We are in the grips of the revenge of an American conscience that's never repented of racist history," Pastor William Lemar said. "Things that were left smoldering, embers have caught a bit of wind from our current president, and from time to time we are are seeing flashes of fire. The narrative that held America together has been fractured. The ground is shifting underneath us. You have to tell a truthful story about how America got where it is. The factories are not gone because of immigration."
"The Haitians are family-oriented, strict with their kids, and hard-working," said Xavier L. Suarez, who became Miami's first Cuban-American mayor in the 1980. He went to Notre Dame d'Haiti on Sunday to show support.
"If you're going to stereotype them, you should say they're law-abiding, super-ethical, warm and kind to strangers," he said. "They want to thrive in this country, as I did, and become part of the American dream."
There were a host of other international organizations that weighed in on the president's remarks. Time magazine reported that Rupert Colville, the UN's human rights spokesperson said, "There is no other word that one can use but 'racist.' This isn't just a story about vulgar language, it's about opening the door to humanity's worst side, about validating and encouraging racism and xenophobia."
Photo Credits: first two - The New Yorker