Trump to Merkel: “Immigration is a privilege, not a right”
March 17, 2017
During their first meeting President Trump told Angela Merkel that Immigration is a privilege, not a right
(WASHINGTON, DC) US President Donald Trump and German Chancellor Angela Merkel met for the first time in Trump’s time in office Friday, discussing many issues on which the two have disagreed in the past, including immigration, defense spending and free trade.
“Our two nations share much in common, including a desire for security, prosperity and peace,” Trump said. He praised Germany’s training of an industrial workforce, including “harnessing the full potential of women,” as an example the US can look to as it seeks to rebuild its industrial base.
On NATO, which Trump has heavily criticized because he feels that other members “don’t pay their fair share,” the president extended an olive branch, but repeated his demands for other countries to step up.
“I reiterated to Chancellor Merkel my strong support for NATO as well as need for our NATO allies to pay their fair share for the cost of defense,” Trump said. “Many nations owe vast sums of money from the past years, and it’s very unfair to the US.”
He also thanked Merkel for her commitment to increasing defense spending, as well as for her leadership in supporting NATO in Afghanistan, at the cost of the lives of more than 50 German soldiers, and as member of anti-ISIS coalition.
“I thanked her for leadership, along with the French president, in resolving the conflict in Ukraine, where we ideally seek a peaceful solution,” Trump said.
Pivoting to immigration, a topic on which the two leaders have vastly different views, Trump said the focus must be on national security.
“Immigration is a privilege, not a right, and the safety of our citizens must always come first,” he said, adding that the US will respect historic institutions and the “right of free people to manage their own destiny.”
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