“I shouldn’t have used ‘illegal.’ It’s undocumented.” White House Denies Biden Apologized for Controversial Term in Immigration Debate

File Photo: Reuters

In the aftermath of President Joe Biden’s controversial reference to a migrant as “illegal” during the State of the Union address, the White House has firmly denied that the President issued an apology. The remark, which was aimed at Jose Antonio Ibarra, the suspect in the killing of Laken Riley, drew sharp criticism from members of Biden’s party, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

In an attempt to clarify his position, President Biden, in an MSNBC interview with Jonathan Capehart, expressed regret over his choice of words, preferring “undocumented” over “illegal.” He emphasized the distinction between his approach to immigration and that of his predecessor, Donald Trump, particularly in terms of rhetoric and respect toward migrants.

Despite this apparent backtrack, White House Deputy Spokesperson Olivia Dalton insisted that President Biden did not apologize. Speaking to reporters aboard Air Force One, Dalton stressed the absence of an apology in Biden’s remarks and underscored the President’s consistent empathy towards the loss experienced by Riley’s family, highlighted during a poignant moment in the State of the Union address, the New York Post reported.

Dalton also criticized the politicization of Riley’s death, particularly by House Republicans, whom she accused of stalling bipartisan border security efforts due to influence from Trump. She described the exploitation of the tragedy for political gains as “unconscionable.”

Amidst ongoing debates, Biden has reiterated the importance of passing a bipartisan bill to bolster border security, a proposal that has faced opposition from some GOP members over concerns regarding presidential authority and unrelated funding allocations.

The controversy extended to Biden’s mispronunciation of Riley’s name during his address, referring to her as “Lincoln Riley.” Despite being corrected by Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, who also provided him with a pin bearing Laken Riley’s name, Biden later insisted he knew the correct pronunciation.

Throughout these turbulent discussions, President Biden has maintained a clear stance on the necessity of a respectful and orderly immigration process, distancing himself from the dehumanizing language often associated with the immigration debate.

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