AUSTIN — Two prominent San Antonio leaders from different political parties criticized President Trump’s reported vulgar and derogatory language regarding immigrants, saying such disrespectful speech is bad for the country.
“There is no question about it: The vast diversity of our population makes America a better place. I’m proud that, in Texas, people of countless different nationalities come together every day “ said House Speaker Joe Straus, R-San Antonio, in a statement released Friday.
“I wish President Trump would show the same respect for other people, no matter their background, that Texans show one another. Unfortunately, when the President talks so derisively of other countries and their people, it is our country that suffers the most,” Straus said.
At an unrelated event at Edgewood Fine Arts Academy on Friday, Congressman Joaquin Castro told reporters that Trump’s remarks were “vile and racist,” adding that they “really undermine the country.”
“I think that people from all political stripes and backgrounds were shocked to see the president of the United States speak that way about people from any country,” Castro said.
During a meeting with lawmakers Thursday, Trump was reported to have asked why the United States would allow more people to come here from “shithole countries” in a reference to nations in Africa.
In his comments, which first were reported by the Washington Post, Trump also suggested it would be preferable to have immigrants from Norway. And, according to reports, he suggested that immigrants from Haiti should be left out of any immigration deal.
The Republican president tweeted Friday that the language he used “was tough, but this was not the language used. What was really tough was the outlandish proposal made — a big setback for DACA.”
DACA is the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, an Obama administration initiative that has protected undocumented immigrants brought to this country as children from deportation. Lawmakers are discussing how to deal with this population as part of immigration reform.
“Never said anything derogatory about Haitians other than Haiti is, obviously, a very poor and troubled country. Never said ‘take them out,’” Trump said on Twitter. “Made up by Dems. I have a wonderful relationship with Haitians. Probably should record future meetings — unfortunately, no trust!”
In talking with reporters after the school event Friday, Castro expressed urgency in finding a solution for the DACA program.
A budget package to fund the government is due Jan. 19, making legislators frantic to come to a consensus on the status of these hundreds of thousands of Americans.
“Congress has to do something about DACA,” said Castro, adding that those who come to the United States under Temporary Protected Status must also feel discouraged.
“It tells them that the president basically doesn’t value their contribution to American society, and that they have no place here,” he said. “ I think that’s what people hear. And so those were just very vile comments coming from the president.”
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