Perhaps as disturbing was the comment he made during the same briefing about Nigeria.
The Times said its report was the product of more than three dozen interviews.
White House officials are denying a New York Times report that President Donald Trump spoke about immigrants in a demeaning fashion during a meeting with top administration officials in June, CNN reports.
Of the 40,000 Nigerian immigrants who had been granted entry, he is alleged to have said they would "never go back to their huts in Africa" now that they had seen the United States.More news: Bitcoin transaction temporarily disabled on Coinbase, one of biggest digital currency market
'It's both sad and telling The New York Times would print the lies of their anonymous "sources" anyway, ' she said.
As the meeting continued, John F. Kelly, then the secretary of homeland security, and Rex W. Tillerson, the secretary of state, tried to interject, explaining that many were short-term travelers making one-time visits.More news: Ryanair says formally recognises Irish pilots' union
After that, The Times reports, Kelly, Tillerson, and senior policy adviser Stephen Miller got into an argument. If he was so bad at his job, maybe he should stop issuing visas altogether, Mr. Tillerson fired back.
Mr Trump has tried to crack down on immigration into the United States, citing terrorism fears, but has been stymied by the courts. On the illegal immigration front, the Trump administration has dramatically ramped up arrests, rescinded an Obama-era program shielding young immigrants from deportation, and commissioned prototypes for a US-Mexico border wall, despite Congress' unwillingness to approve full funding. Still, the remarks are notable in that they underscore Trump's animus toward immigrants is personal as much as political-and that it is not shared by his closest advisers.
Trump has also backed the RAISE Act, introduced by two Republican senators earlier this year, that would slash legal immigration by half, in part by eliminating several visa categories reserved for the family members of U.S. citizens and permanent residents.More news: Magic Leap introduces first product, Leap One