Ryan: Trump's inflammatory immigration comments are 'very unfortunate'

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Ryan portrayed a "beautiful story of America" in his family's journey, and he suggested Americans should celebrate the diversity that came with immigration.

"I thought about my own family", he said, describing his Irish immigrant relatives who came to the USA on what he said were called "coffin ships" and began working the railroads.

The comments from Ryan and Trump all but assure the Republican-held Congress will not move toward its long-held goal in the near future.

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"I think it's a big part of our strength, whether you're coming from Haiti - we've got great friends from Africa in Janesville who are doctors who are incredible citizens", Ryan said.

Bipartisan negotiations hit a snag after President Donald Trump on Thursday rejected an agreement reached by a group of six senators.

"I read those comments later last night, so, first thing that came to my mind was very unfortunate, unhelpful", said Ryan.

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Mr. Trump's alleged comments from a closed-door meeting with lawmakers leaked late Thursday in a Washington Post report. He was referring to Trump's asking, during an Oval Office meeting with lawmakers, why the US should admit more immigrants from "shithole countries" in Africa.

While other Republicans have condemned the president's remarks, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, has not yet issued a response.

Ryan said he wants immigration reform to focus not on the applicant's country but on what abilities they bring. If not, they will need votes from Democrats, who are insisting the bill includes a solution to the expiring Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.

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"No, I don't there there will be", he said.

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