White House legislative director Marc Short told reporters on Capitol Hill after the meeting that the President wants a "broader" deal on the family piece than just the covered recipients. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., was explaining the outlines of an agreement that six senators had reached to protect hundreds of thousands of young immigrants from deportation and bolster border security, the people said.
Another source familiar with the meeting said Trump was questioning why the United States should take in unskilled laborers from the countries under discussion and should instead welcome immigrants from nations that can offer skilled workers.
Shah added: "He will always reject temporary, weak and unsafe stopgap measures that threaten the lives of hardworking Americans, and undercut immigrants who seek a better life in the United States through a legal pathway".
His remark was reportedly in reference to people from Haiti, El Salvador and African countries.
In a statement, the White House did not explicitly deny that Trump called Haiti and African countries "sh*tholes".
U.S. Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi said the remarks are "un-American".
"I think the premise of your question is completely ridiculous and shows the lack of knowledge that you have on this process", Sanders retorted, adding that the president's tweet "wasn't confusing to me".
But in an afternoon of drama and confusing developments, three other GOP lawmakers - including two hardliners on immigration - were also in Trump's office for Thursday's meeting and said it did not produce the results Graham and Durbin were hoping for.
Democrats are pressing for an immigration deal to be included in the latest government funding agreement, which expires in eight days. "I don't get that", said No. 2 Senate Republican John Cornyn of Texas.
When Donald Trump ended Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (Daca), the Obama-era programme that has allowed almost 800,000 Dreamers to work and go to school in the U.S. without fear of deportation, he gave politicians a six-month deadline to resolve the issue. The lawmakers had proposed cutting the visa lottery program in half and giving first dibs to countries already in the system, a White House official told the news outlet. Bob Goodlatte, Kevin McCarthy and Mario Diaz-Balart were also at the Trump meeting on Thursday. "Why do we want all these people from Africa here?"