According to multiple reports, in an oval office meeting on Thursday, President Trump referred to Haiti, El Salvador, and African nations as “sh*thole countries,” questioning why the US would see any value in welcoming people from those countries to the US. In response Oxfam America President Abby Maxman made the following statement:
“The comments made by the President of the United States yesterday afternoon are racist, repugnant, and run directly counter to our values as Americans.
My Oxfam colleagues and I have spent many years working and living in many of the places to which the President was referring— Haiti, Ethiopia, South Sudan and post-genocide Rwanda, just to name a few. Throughout my twenty years as a humanitarian, I have seen strong, resilient people face humanitarian disasters, conflicts, and poverty and still find the courage and strength to lift themselves and their families out of poverty.
Some of these people then make the brave decision to leave their homes and countries to safely build a new life for themselves here in the United States. Millions have then gone on to make tremendous contributions to our country, revitalizing the communities in which they live, and weaving deeply into the multicultural fabric of the United States.
Today we mark the eighth anniversary of the earthquake in Haiti with a moment of silence. That country was ravaged by a powerful earthquake and has suffered other subsequent natural disasters. But we know from our work there that Haitian people are deeply resilient, hard-working, determined and are building a better country and better lives for themselves every day. Their perseverance should be met with praise, support, and humanity. President Trump would do well to honor a moment of silence in respect to Haiti.
The latest comments are in line with a pattern of racism from President Trump. We should not mince words. Comments like these are a hallmark of his ‘America First’ program, which has taken on elements of white supremacy and is now a threat to lives and wellbeing of millions of people here and around the world. It is an embarrassment and it is wrong.
Oxfam America continues to advocate for and with refugees, TPS holders, and the resilient people around the world who we work with every day. One of our proudest American legacies is welcoming refugees, and immigrants. This is who we are, who we have been, and who we should be. Congress should not follow the President in his abhorrent views and should immediately pass legislation that creates a solution for the tens of thousands of TPS holders and DACA recipients currently trapped in limbo, putting all of them on a permanent path towards citizenship.”