Two weeks ago, President Trump reportedly stunned several U.S. senators attempting to negotiate an agreement on immigration when he wondered out loud why America was taking immigrants from nations like Haiti and El Salvador and referred to African states as “shithole countries,” expressing a preference for immigrants from Norway.
The dispute over what to do with the hundreds of thousands of young undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. illegally as children led to a government shutdown this past weekend. Those immigrants were left in limbo last year after Trump rescinded the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which allowed the “Dreamers” to work legally and spared them from deportation. Democrats and Republicans came to an agreement to reopen the government on Monday, after the Republican leadership in the Senate agreed to hold a vote on a DACA-related bill.
One of the lawmakers working on a potential immigration compromise is Democratic Senator Michael Bennet of Colorado, a DREAM Act supporter who represents a state that is both racially diverse and politically purple—Bennet’s junior colleague is Republican Cory Gardner. On Meet the Press, responding to Trump’s remarks, Bennet distinguished between Trump’s comments and his person, saying that while he “was raised not to call people racist on the theory that it was hard for them to be rehabilitated once you said that,” there’s “no question what he said was racist.”