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Donald Trump has responded to criticism about his alleged use of the word “shithole” to describe migrant countries, saying “this was not the language used”.

While the President appeared to deny using the offensive term, he did admit the language he used “was tough”.

The President tweeted on Friday following criticism from the UN and other countries.

“The so-called bipartisan DACA deal presented yesterday to myself and a group of Republican Senators and Congressmen was a big step backwards,” he said.

“The language used by me at the DACA meeting was tough, but this was not the language used. What was really tough was the outlandish proposal made – a big setback for DACA!”

He blamed the Democrats, saying the immigration policy DACA, which stands for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, has taken a “big step backwards” because of the Democrats “not being interested in life and safety”.

Mr Trump had asked why America should allow more people from “shithole countries” during the meeting with legislators about a proposed bipartisan deal on immigration.

Sources briefed on the conversation said Mr Trump questioned why the US would want to admit more people from Haiti and Africa, adding: “We should have more people from Norway”.

The President’s comments drew widespread condemnation.

Asked about Mr Trump’s remarks, UN human rights spokesman Rupert Colville said: “These are shocking and shameful comments from the President of the United States.

“There is no other word one can use but racist.

“You cannot dismiss entire countries and continents as ‘shitholes’, whose entire populations, who are not white, are therefore not welcome.”

:: Immigration slur – Why did Trump say it?

He added: “The future of the Dreamers should not be used as a bargaining chip to negotiate the most severe and restrictive immigration and security measures possible. These are human beings, not commodities.”

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Image: In November, Washington said it was ending Temporary Protected Status for people from Haiti

“Ours is not a shithole country, neither is Haiti or any other country in distress,” said Jessie Duarte, the deputy secretary general of South Africa’s ruling African National Congress party.

“We would not deign to make comments as derogatory as that about any country that has any kind of socioeconomic or other difficulties.”

Former Mexican president Vicente Fox Quesada described Mr Trump’s comments as “foul”.

He said: “America’s greatness is built on diversity, or have you forgotten your immigrant background, Donald?”

The White House did not immediately contradict reports of Mr Trump’s remarks, but suggested the President was “fighting for permanent solutions” that strengthen the nation, and that included the use of a merit-based immigration system.

“Certain Washington politicians choose to fight for foreign countries, but President Trump will always fight for the American people,” White House spokesman Raj Shah.

“He will always reject temporary, weak and dangerous stopgap measures that threaten the lives of hardworking Americans, and undercut immigrants who seek a better life in the United States through a legal pathway.”

Mr Trump later tweeted that he would not accept the proposed bi-partisan deal as the US would be “forced to take large numbers of people from high crime countries which are doing badly.”

He added: “I want a merit based system of immigration and people who will help take our country to the next level.”

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In November, Donald Trump’s administration said it was ending Temporary Protected Status for people from Haiti.

It gave the approximately 59,000 Haitian immigrants who had been granted the status until July 2019 to return home or legalise their presence in the United States.

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