Trump administration to bar Haitians from seasonal work visas

President Donald Trump speaks during a cabinet meeting at the White House, Wednesday, Dec. 20, 2017, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

(ABC News) — 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.

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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.

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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.”

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