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At that meeting, the President reportedly asked why the US was opening its doors to people from "shithole" countries - meaning Haiti and African nations - rather than people from countries like Norway.

President Donald Trump promised last week during an unusual public bipartisan negotiating session that he would accept whatever plan Congress came up with to address the plight of an estimated 800,000 undocumented youths brought here as children by their parents.

"Mr. President, close this [immigration] deal", Republican Senator Lindsey Graham of SC said at a Judiciary Committee hearing, adding, "Don't give my number out, but call me" - a reference to an incident in the campaign for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination in which Trump publicly announced Graham's private telephone number. "Did you see what various senators in the room said about my comments?". He also accused Senator Durbin of making a "gross misrepresentation" of what happened in the meeting: "It's not the first time Senator Durbin has done it, and it is not productive to solving the problem we're having", Perdue added. Aside from that, as part of broader immigration-restriction efforts, the White House also led a campaign to reduce the number of refugees to the United States.

"I stick with my original interpretation".

"He said, 'Put me down for wanting more Europeans to come to this country".

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Aides to congressional negotiators are set to meet Tuesday to attempt to strike a deal before the approaching deadline.

Democrats are willing to agree to some border security measures in exchange for Dreamer protections, but, for most, the Goodlatte bill goes too far.

Asked about charges of racism for his alleged slur, Trump said: "I'm not a racist. If what you do is racist, you certainly qualify for being a racist".

Over the weekend, Republican Sens. Responding to a series of questions, Trump said "honestly" Democrats do not want to make a deal. That's when Trump began interjecting, Durbin said. In an interview on Friday, Perdue had said he didn't remember the president using such language. "And that's when he used those sickening, heartbreaking remarks, saying 'Those shitholes send us the people they don't want.' He repeated that". He says one of the biggest fears is deportation.

Mr Trump has not clarified to aides what he said, but told reporters on Sunday night in Florida that comments attributed to him "weren't made".

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Other lawmakers in attendance at the meeting, including Democratic Senator Dick Durbin, have said they heard the president using the expletive to describe the countries mentioned above.

But Graham said Monday that "my memory hasn't evolved". Graham said Trump had been badly served by his staff and the situation had turned into an "s-show".

Democrats in IL have seized on the chance to rebuke Trump, while Republicans have condemned the remarks.

"Senator Dicky Durbin totally misrepresented what was said at the DACA meeting", Mr Trump tweeted Monday, using a nickname to needle the IL senator.

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