White House won't deny Trump comment on Africa

File: President Donald Trump in Huntsville

The White House is not denying that President Donald Trump used profanity in referring to African nations during a meeting on immigration.

Posted: Jan. 11, 2018 4:56 PM

WASHINGTON (AP) - The Latest on President Donald Trump, Congress and immigration (all times local):

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5:45 p.m.

The White House is not denying that President Donald Trump used profanity in referring to African nations during a meeting on immigration.

Spokesman Raj Shah says in a statement that while "Certain Washington politicians choose to fight for foreign countries," Trump "will always fight for the American people."

He says Trump wants to welcome immigrants who "contribute to our society, grow our economy and assimilate into our great nation," and will always reject "temporary, weak and dangerous stopgap measures" that he says "threaten the lives of hardworking Americans" and undercut other immigrants.

Trump reportedly questioned why the U.S. would want to admit more people from "shithole countries." The comment came during a meeting with lawmakers who are trying to forge a deal to protect hundreds of thousands of young people from deportation.

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5:35 p.m.

The tentative immigration agreement by a bipartisan group of lawmakers includes President Donald Trump's $1.6 billion request for a first installment on his long-sought border wall.

That's according to aides familiar with the pact, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the agreement has not yet been made public. Trump's request covers 74 miles of border wall as part of a 10-year, $18 billion proposal.

Democrats such as top negotiator Dick Durbin of Illinois had long vowed they would not fund the wall, but are accepting the request as part of a broader plan that protects from deportation about 800,000 younger immigrants illegally brought to the country as children.

The plan would also effectively end a visa lottery system aimed at promoting diversity.

- Andrew Taylor

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5:30 p.m.

President Donald Trump used profane language to disparage African nations in a meeting with lawmakers about a proposed bipartisan deal on immigration.

That's according to two people briefed on an Oval Office meeting held Thursday.

Trump made the remark after Democratic Sen. Richard Durbin told Trump that under the proposal, a lottery for visas would be ended. Durbin said that in exchange, people from African countries that have benefited from that lottery would be given other access to visas.

The people say Trump questioned why the U.S. would want to admit more people from "shithole countries." They say Trump said the U.S. should allow more immigrants from places like Norway.

The two people spoke on condition of anonymity because they weren't authorized to publicly discuss the Oval Office meeting.

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3:35 p.m.

Six senators say they've reached a bipartisan agreement to protect hundreds of thousands of young immigrants from deportation and strengthen border security.

The lawmakers say they're seeking enough support to push the deal through Congress.

The significance of their agreement was initially unclear. White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said no deal has been reached and said the White House would keep working toward an agreement.

Three Republican and three Democratic senators have been working for months on a plan to protect people who arrived in the U.S. as children, many illegally. They had been shielded from deportation by Obama-era regulations that President Donald Trump has ended and will expire in March.

The senators say the deal also revamps a visa lottery and rules helping immigrants' relatives enter the U.S.

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1:50 p.m.

A bipartisan group of senators has reached a deal on immigration to protect younger people brought to the U.S. illegally as children.

That's according to a spokesman for Arizona Republican Sen. Jeff Flake. The group includes Flake and Illinois Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin. They've worked with other pro-immigration senators for months in hopes of extending Obama-era protections called Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA.

The group was on track to address border security and other issues, such as preferential treatment for family members of immigrants already in the U.S.

Spokesman Jason Samuels says, "Sen. Flake's bipartisan group - the only bipartisan group that has been negotiating a DACA fix - has struck a deal."

The next step is seeking White House reaction.

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1:25 p.m.

Top House Democrat Nancy Pelosi says an immigration working group is just "five white guys."

Pelosi's talking about a group of lawmakers that's blessed by President Donald Trump. They're trying to find a deal to protect young immigrants brought to the U.S. illegally as children.

The California lawmakers says there's "plenty of other bipartisan activity going on that gives me hope that we're pretty close" to agreement on the young immigrants and other immigration policy.

It's plain the California Democrat has a dim view of the Trump-endorsed effort. The newly created group includes four top congressional leaders and White House Chief of Staff John Kelly.

Pelosi asks, "Why now? Except perhaps to delay?"

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12:23 a.m.

Backed by the White House, Democratic and Republican lawmakers dug into a politically fraught search for compromise on immigration Wednesday, seeking to take advantage of a window of opportunity opened by President Donald Trump. They're under pressure to find a breakthrough before a deadline next week that could lead to a government shutdown.

Democrats want to stave off deportation of some 800,000 immigrants currently protected by an Obama-era program called Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA. Trump still wants his border wall, though he's toned down what that means. Conservatives are wary, fearing he will strike a soft compromise.

The No. 2 Republicans and Democrats in both House and Senate - touched gloves Wednesday afternoon, deputized for action at what appears to be a moment of genuine opportunity to break Washington gridlock.

(Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

1/11/2018 4:52:02 PM (GMT -6:00)

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