US Vice President Mike Pence addresses the Knesset (Israeli parliament) in Jerusalem on January 22, 2018. / AFP / POOL / Ariel Schalit
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U.S. Vice President Mike Pence Monday defended President Donald Trump on his recent comments disparaging immigration from Africa and Haiti, telling The Associated Press that the president's "heart" is aimed at a merit-based system that is blind to immigrants' "race or creed".Pence did not directly answer a question about whether Trump's language was appropriate, but said the president's intentions have "everything to do with moving our country to a merit-based system".He was responding to reports that Trump, in a private meeting with legislators earlier this month, challenged immigration from "shithole" African countries, disparaged Haiti and said the U.S. should welcome more immigration from countries like Norway.Pence said he had received no blowback from world leaders after Trump made the immigration comments.
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