Haitian-American diplomats write open letter to Trump after ‘s—hole’ remark
A group of Haitian-American diplomats rebuked President Trump in an open letter Saturday, saying his comments that the U.S. didn’t need more immigrants from Haiti caused “heartbreak and despair.”
The diplomats say in the letter released to PBS NewsHour that Trump’s comments were especially difficult to hear on the anniversary of the deadly 2010 earthquake.
“January 12th marked the 8th anniversary of the 7.0 magnitude earthquake that shook Haiti, taking more than 200,000 innocent lives,” the letter reads.
“As American diplomats of Haitian heritage, we woke up to heartbreak and despair from reports of disparaging remarks emanating from the administration we serve, as we mourned family members lost on that fateful day,” it continues.
The letter comes after Trump reportedly questioned whether the U.S. needed “more Haitians” during an Oval Office meeting with lawmakers, according to Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), who attended.
“He said, ‘Haitians, do we need more Haitians?’ ” Durbin said.
The Washington Post reported that Trump in the same meeting referred to immigrants from Haiti, El Salvador and African nations as coming from “shithole countries.”
The signatories of the letter have asked to remain anonymous because they continue to work as foreign service officers for the U.S. State Department.
In the letter, the group writes that Haitian-Americans make up the fabric of American society, and declares that “there is no America without immigrants, both old and new.”
“Haitian-Americans, like Salvadoran and Nigerian Americans, are one of many immigrant groups that make up our country’s mosaic,” the letter reads. “Nearly one million Haitian-Americans contribute to the fabric of America. Haitian immigrants contribute to American society as doctors, taxi drivers, lawyers, nurses, teachers and more.”
Trump’s comments were met with sharp criticism from the House’s lone Haitian-American lawmaker, Rep. Mia Love (R-Utah), who said the comments were “unkind, divisive, elitist and fly in the face of our nation’s values.”
“My parents came from one of those countries but proudly took an oath of allegiance to the United States and took on the responsibilities of everything that being a citizen comes with,” she said in a statement.
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