Trump migrant comments: Success stories from maligned countries

Mia Love speaks during the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) March 3, 2016 in National Harbor, MarylandImage copyright
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Republican Congresswoman Mia Love is of Haitian descent

US President Donald Trump has caused widespread anger by reportedly describing immigrants as coming from “shithole countries” during a White House meeting.

He was apparently referring to Haiti, El Salvador and African countries.

However, there are many examples of people from those countries making successful lives in the US and contributing to American society.


Utah Republican Congresswoman Mia Love is of Haitian descent and called on Mr Trump to apologise for his comments.

“This behaviour is unacceptable from the leader of our nation,” she said in a statement.

In her biography, Ms Love recalls her parents – who moved to the US from Haiti in the 1970s – working hard to earn a living.

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Mia Love said President Trump’s words were “unkind, divisive and elitist”

She quotes her father saying: “Mia, your mother and I never took a handout. You will not be a burden to society. You will give back.”

Haitians account for less than 2% of the US foreign-born population, according to the Migration Policy Institute, but the numbers have increased in recent decades.

In 2015 there were 676,000 Haitian immigrants in the US, up from 587,000 in 2010, it says.

El Salvador

Carlos Castro, president and CEO of Todos Supermarket, is often held up as the archetype self-made millionaire.

He fled the civil war in El Salvador in 1979 and entered the US illegally, later being deported.

But he returned and worked in a series of lowly jobs before becoming a legal resident in 1986. He then opened his first grocery store which grew into a successful chain now catering to Latino shoppers around Washington DC.

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The Trump administration has taken a tougher line with migrants from countries including El Salvador

The US National Grocers’ Association describe him as “more than just an innovate entrepreneur, he’s a mentor to many in the Hispanic community and fledging business owners”.

Latest figures show about 1.3m Salvadoreans living in the US, according to the Migration Policy Institute.

African countries

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Bozoma Saint John is based in San Francisco

Bozoma Saint John, whose parents are from Ghana, is the chief brand officer at Uber and the former head of global consumer marketing at Apple Music.

In a speech she made in 2016, Ms Saint John said she had been inspired by the personal journey that her father had made from being a musician in the Ghanaian army to graduating from a US college.

US politician Ilhan Omar was born in Somalia and moved to the US with her family when she was eight.

In 2016 she was elected to the Minnesota House of Representatives, becoming the first Somali-American Muslim legislator elected to office in the US.

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Politician Ilhan Omar’s family were refugees from Somalia

In her biography, she tells how her family fled Somalia’s civil war and spent four years in a Kenyan refugee camp before emigrating to the US in the 1990s.

“As a single parent my father chose Minnesota for the promise of welcoming neighbours, a great education and economic security. We found that here,” she said.

South Africa born comedian Trevor Noah, who hosts the popular US satirical programme The Daily Show, has previously told the BBC that he believes Donald Trump “prefers white people over black people”.

“I do know that he doesn’t want black people involved in the counting of his money or the running of his world,” said.

Following the president’s latest comments he said that “as someone from South Shithole, I am offended”.

Media captionTrevor Noah: “I do know that he (Donald Trump) prefers white people over black people”

Trump migrant comments: Success stories from maligned countries

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