January 18, 2018

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Members of Haitian community react to Trump's comments

President Donald Trump on Thursday questioned why the U.S. would accept more immigrants from "shithole countries" after senators discussed revamping rules affecting those from Africa and Haiti, according to people briefed on the conversation. Members of the Haitian community react to Trump's comments:

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'UNFIT, UNKNOWLEDGEABLE'

The comments angered Illinois state Sen. Kwame Raoul, whose Haitian parents immigrated to the U.S. in the 1950s.

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FILE- In this Jan. 9, 2018, file photo, President Donald Trump listens during a meeting with lawmakers on immigration policy in the Cabinet Room of the White House in Washington. Trump used profane language to disparage African nations in a meeting with lawmakers about a proposed bipartisan deal on immigration, according to two people briefed on an Oval Office meeting held Thursday, Jan. 11. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File)

FILE- In this Jan. 9, 2018, file photo, President Donald Trump listens during a meeting with lawmakers on immigration policy in the Cabinet Room of the White House in Washington. Trump used profane language to disparage African nations in a meeting with lawmakers about a proposed bipartisan deal on immigration, according to two people briefed on an Oval Office meeting held Thursday, Jan. 11. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File)

President Donald Trump on Thursday questioned why the U.S. would accept more immigrants from "shithole countries" after senators discussed revamping rules affecting those from Africa and Haiti, according to people briefed on the conversation. Members of the Haitian community react to Trump's comments:


'UNFIT, UNKNOWLEDGEABLE'

The comments angered Illinois state Sen. Kwame Raoul, whose Haitian parents immigrated to the U.S. in the 1950s.

"I don't think there's any apologizing out of this," the Chicago Democrat said of Trump. "He's demonstrated himself to be unfit, unknowledgeable about the history of this country and the history of contributions that immigrants, particularly Haitian immigrants, have made to this country."

Raoul, who was appointed to the Illinois Legislature to fill the vacancy left by Barack Obama's 2004 election to the U.S. Senate, added that it was a personal slight, too. His father worked as a doctor on Chicago's South Side for decades, often serving poor and vulnerable populations.

President Donald Trump, looks to Brooke Rollins, President and CEO of the Texas Public Policy Foundation, as she speaks during a prison reform roundtable in the Roosevelt Room of the Washington, Thursday, Jan. 11, 2018. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

President Donald Trump, looks to Brooke Rollins, President and CEO of the Texas Public Policy Foundation, as she speaks during a prison reform roundtable in the Roosevelt Room of the Washington, Thursday, Jan. 11, 2018. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

"It makes me embarrassed to have this guy as the president of my country," said Raoul, who's running in Illinois' March primary for state attorney general.


'BEYOND BULLYING'

Farah Larrieux is a Haitian immigrant in Miami who represents a national alliance of people like her who have been granted protections against deportation after natural disasters in their nations.

"This is beyond politics. The guy has no respect for anyone. I am trying not to cry," Larrieux said. "I can't understand how someone goes from making a statement in Little Haiti saying 'I want to be the biggest champion of Haiti' to calling Haiti a 'shithole.' It makes me sick." She referred to a 2016 campaign stop in Miami's Haitian neighbourhood.

"This is beyond bullying," Larrieux said. "This is a racial campaign against immigrants."


'WORDS CANNOT AFFECT ME'

Djenane Gourgue, of the Haitian-American Chamber of Commerce of Florida, says she is not letting Trump's remarks affect her anymore, adding "his actions can probably hurt more."

"We spend too much time commenting or watching or being pissed off at what Mr. Trump says. That's what he does well ... ," Haitian-born Gourgue said. "Those words cannot affect me. ... He's just being a bully."

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