Leahy Challenges Merit-Based System: 'Being from Norway Is Not a Skill'

Posted: Jan 16, 2018 12:15 PM

DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen was grilled over reports that President Trump used the word, "s***hole" to describe Haiti, El Salvador and African nations during an immigration meeting last week. He was supposedly asking lawmakers why we are accepting immigrants from those countries and not more immigrants from countries like Norway.

"I did not hear that word used," Nielsen said when asked about Trump's supposed vulgar language at a Senate Judiciary Hearing on Tuesday. She did, however, admit that she heard the president use "tough" and "impassioned" language.

"I remember specific cuss words being used by several members," she added.

Nielsen defended Trump's larger sentiment that our immigration system should be a merit-based one. 

"Being from Norway is not a skill," Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) said in rebuttal.

He continued to press her on the subject.

"Norway is a predominantly white country, isn't it?" Leahy asked. 

"I actually don't know that, sir," she replied.

During Leahy's questioning, one of his staffers held a sign featuring Trump's profanity.

The panel also wanted to get to the bottom of the administration's take on DACA. Will the president ensure the rights of Dreamers and will he still demand a border wall, with Mexico footing the bill?

"We need the wall too, it's part of border security," Nielsen insisted.

Congress is unlikely to come to an agreement on DACA before this Friday's government shutdown deadline. They have again until March 5 to fix the legislation as it was implemented under President Obama.

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