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  • iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- The Trump administration is moving to ban Haitian immigrants from applying for seasonal and farm work visas in the U.S., the Department of Homeland Security announced Wednesday night, just days after the president reportedly used a vulgar slur to describe the country last week.The department said it will remove Haiti, as well as Belize and Samoa, from its list of countries whose citizens can receive H-2A and H-2B visas, which are typically granted to seasonal workers in agriculture and other industries.“The Secretary of Homeland Security has determined, however, with the concurrence of the Secretary of State, that the following countries should no longer be designated as eligible countries because they are not meeting the standards set out in the regulation: Belize, Haiti, and Samoa,” the department said in a regulatory filing.In the filing, which was posted online, the DHS said Haitian nationals “have historically demonstrated high levels of fraud and abuse and a high rate of overstaying the terms” of their U.S. admissions.Belize was removed from the list due to risks connected to human trafficking, while Samoa was removed for not accepting back citizens who’d been ordered to leave the U.S., according to the filing.The announcement comes as the administration battles allegations the president asked lawmakers why they would want people from Haiti, Africa and other "s---hole countries" coming into the United States, according to multiple sources either briefed on or familiar with the discussion.Trump has repeatedly denied making the comment and he praised the people of Haiti in an interview with Reuters on Wednesday.“I love the people. There’s a tremendous warmth,” Trump said. “And they’re very hard-working people.”He tweeted on Jan. 12, in the wake of the reports about his language that he has "a wonderful relationship with Haitians." Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.
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  • Russian Presidential Press and Information Office / Handout/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- From Afghanistan to Zimbabwe, approval of United States leadership declined around the globe between 2016 and 2017, according to a survey released Thursday.The global poll from Gallup found that on average only 30 percent of the world approves of U.S. leadership during President Donald Trump's first year in office, down from 48 percent in the last year of President Barack Obama's administration in 2016. The United States' leadership approval rating is now only slightly better than Russia's, 27 percent, and is on-par with China's rating of 31 percent. With a rating of 41 percent, Germany replaced the United States as the highest-rated global power.There were 137 countries surveyed for the 2017 poll.The poll suggests Trump's "America First" policies and attitudes are weakening approval of U.S. leadership around the world, but also close to home.As the fate of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) hangs in the balance, approval of U.S leadership plummeted with American neighbors Mexico and Canada. In Canada, approval dropped 40 points from 60 percent in 2016 to 20 percent in 2017, while in Mexico, approval dropped 28 points from 44 percent approval in 2016 to 16 percent approval in 2017.Some of the other most significant declines in approval came from longtime American allies like France, the United Kingdom, Germany and Italy.Trump's strong relationship with Israel, however, may have boosted the United States' leadership ratings by 14 percent. Overall, 67 percent of Israelis approve of U.S. leadership. Large gains were also seen in Belarus, Macedonia and Liberia.Approval was lowest in Iceland and Russia with 8 percent approval."While advancing American influence -- one of the four pillars of the administration’s new national security strategy -- may begin with building up wealth and power at home, as Trump has stated, it can’t be achieved without a strong commitment to and close cooperation with partners and allies abroad," the report says."It is too early in Trump’s presidency to deem his 'America First' foreign policy a success or failure. However, it is clear that based on the trajectory of what the world thinks of the U.S., many of the U.S. alliances and partnerships that the Trump administration considers a 'great strength' are potentially at risk."Gallup began the survey, called Rating World Leaders, in 2007. The results are gathered by face-to-face and telephone interviews with approximately 1,000 adults, aged 15 and older, in all 137 countries. The survey claims with 95 percent confidence a sampling error of plus or minus 2 to 5 percentage points.Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.
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  • Drew Angerer/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- White House Chief of Staff John Kelly went to Capitol Hill Wednesday to meet with the Congressional Hispanic Caucus on immigration -- and according to lawmakers and sources both in the room and briefed on the meeting -- told the group that President Donald Trump's campaign promises on immigration were not fully informed and that the U.S. would not construct a wall on the border with Mexico "from sea to shining sea."“He said the promises of the campaign and governance are two different things, you guys are all elected officials, you know that,” Rep. Raul Grijalva, D-Ariz. recalled Kelly telling the group.Another lawmaker, Rep. Luis Gutierrez, an Illinois Democrat, said in a statement, "I can confirm that Chief of Staff Kelly said today that the president’s campaign was not fully informed about the wall he was promising to voters."Gutierrez and other sources familiar with the meeting said Kelly took credit for "educating the president" on a border wall and for some of Trump's shifting positions on Dreamers -- undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. as children.Asked about the meeting in a Fox News interview, Kelly said Trump has changed the way he looks at issues since becoming president. "He has evolved in the way he's looked at things. Campaigns and governing are two different things," Kelly said.Kelly said he told the lawmakers people say things "during the course of campaigns that may or may not be fully informed.""There are places where geographically, a wall would not be realistic. There are other parts of the southwest border that are so wild and untamed that there is no traffic that goes through them, " he said on Fox. "There are other places we think about 800 miles additional wall to include the 600 that's already in place-- the fencing-- that would suffice."Speaking to ABC News's Mary Bruce, Kelly said, "There are many places on the border that the professionals in Customs and Border Protection-- men and women who work the border every day – can tell you exactly where they need more fencing or more barrier, and that’s what the president is seeking to do.""That, combined with closing some of the loopholes, the draw if you will -- because the average person that is coming to the U.S. illegally, whether they come by visa and overstay, or sneak through the southwest, they understand that our really, really ineffective immigration laws, essentially allow them to stay indefinitely," Kelly told ABC News.Some lawmakers left the meeting with Kelly unsure of what President Trump wants to see in a deal to find a permanent legislative fix to DACA -- the Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals program begun as an executive action under President Obama but which President Trump has ordered ended.One lawmaker questioned whether they can trust the White House to negotiate in good faith."Trump's a wild card," Grijalva, the Arizona Democrat, said. "There's no track record to be able to trust the White House on immigration."Republicans who spoke with Kelly Wednesday were more optimistic."What I was looking for was that firm commitment to make sure that all of the DACA population at least is taken care of,” Rep. Carlos Curbelo, R-Fla., told reporters after meeting with Kelly and White House legislative affairs director Marc Short and Homeland Security Secretary Kristjen Nielsen.“The administration considers this one of its goals and I was very encouraged,” Curbelo said.Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.
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  • Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- President Trump's son, Eric, is dismissing accusations from some lawmakers and others of racism based on comments he reportedly made about African nations as "s---hole countries" during an immigration meeting with lawmakers last week."My father sees one color, green," Trump said in an interview Wednesday on Fox and Friends."That is all he cares about, he cares about the economy. He does not see race.""He is least racist person I ever met in my entire life," Trump added.Trump cited gains in the economy for African Americans as evidence his father is not racist and accused the media of covering the figures up."They will never report that African-American unemployment is the lowest it ever been," Trump said. "And they’ll go out and will call him racist. It’s very sad, it’s a race to the bottom. They stoop very, very low."The White House has similarly spent a week pushing back on claims the president is a bigot, after participants in a Thursday immigration meeting said Trump uttered a vulgar phrase about African nations and expressed preference for accepting immigrants from countries such as Norway."Frankly I think if the critics of the president were who he said he was, why did NBC give him a show for a decade on TV?" press secretary Sarah Sanders asked reporters on Tuesday. "Why did Chuck Schumer and all of his colleagues come and beg Donald Trump for money?" Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.
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  • Drew Angerer/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- In a searing speech on the Senate floor Wednesday morning, Sen. Jeff Flake denounced President Donald Trump for his sustained attacks against the news media, going so far as to compare his rhetoric to that of Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin.In Flake's remarks Wednesday, he pointed to Stalin, the Soviet Union's 30-year dictator as a seeming inspiration for Trump's attacks against the press, singling out a phrase that each used to refer to their interpreted opposition."It is a testament to the condition of our democracy that our own president uses words infamously spoken by Joseph Stalin to describe his enemies," Flake said. "It bears noting that so fraught with malice was the phrase 'enemy of the people,' that even Nikita Khrushchev forbade its use, telling the Soviet Communist Party that the phrase had been introduced by Stalin for the purpose of 'annihilating such individuals' who disagreed with the supreme leader."Flake, long an outspoken critic of the president, said his speech coincides with the planned date of Trump's "Fake News Awards," which he announced in a Twitter post at the beginning of the month. Already delayed once, White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders called such a ceremony a "potential event" Tuesday and did not provide details about it when asked at the day's press briefing.“2017 was a year which saw the truth – objective, empirical, evidence-based truth – more battered and abused than any other in the history of our country, at the hands of the most powerful figure in our government, said Flake, R-Ariz., adding, "2018 must be the year in which the truth takes a stand against power that would weaken it."Last February, Trump drew widespread condemnation when he tweeted that the "FAKE NEWS media" was not his enemy, but rather "the enemy of the American people," a charge his critics felt took his disdain for coverage of his administration beyond his usual attacks.Flake characterized the president's attacks as "shameful" and "repulsive" Wednesday and accused him of inspiring autocratic leaders throughout the world — citing denials of news reports by heads-of-state in Syria, the Philippines, Venezuela, Myanmar and Singapore."This feedback loop is disgraceful, Mr. President," said Flake, addressing Trump. "Not only has the past year seen an American president borrow despotic language to refer to the free press, but it seems he has in turn inspired dictators and authoritarians with his own language. This is reprehensible."The speech was the senator's second such address targeting Trump from the Senate floor in the last three months.In October, Flake passionately decried what he called the "regular and casual undermining of our democratic norms and ideals" under the president as he announced that he would not seek re-election in 2018. An emotional Flake said at the time: "We must never meekly accept the daily sundering of our country," including "the flagrant disregard for truth and decency."The senator concluded his speech Wednesday by calling on his Senate colleagues -- whom he acknowledged have all likely faced news coverage they "felt was jaded or unfair" — to "stop excusing, ignoring — or worse, endorsing — these attacks on the truth.""For if we compromise the truth for the sake of our politics, we are lost," he said. Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.
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