Biden Says He Shouldn't Have Called Migrant 'An Illegal' In SOTU Speech

"I shouldn't have used 'illegal,' it’s undocumented," Biden told MSNBC's Jonathan Capehart.

President Joe Biden said he regrets calling a migrant “an illegal” in his State of the Union speech.

“I shouldn’t have used ‘illegal,’ it’s ‘undocumented,’” Biden told MSNBC’s Jonathan Capehart in an interview airing Saturday night.

During his Thursday speech, Biden mentioned Laken Riley, a nursing student allegedly killed by an undocumented immigrant. Riley’s death has become a major talking point for Republicans, who have who have criticized Biden’s handling of migrants coming to the border and have sought to tie it to crime.

“An innocent young woman who was killed by an illegal,” Biden said during the speech. “That’s right. But how many thousands of people, being killed by legals?”

Democrats rebuked the president for using the word “illegal” to describe a migrant.

“As a proud immigrant, I’m extremely disappointed to hear President Biden use the word ‘illegal,’” Rep. Chuy Garcia (D-Ill.) posted on X.

Rep. Delia Ramirez (D-Ill.) also expressed her frustration, posting on X: “No human being is illegal.”

In his interview with Capehart, Biden said he didn’t want to use the kind of hurtful rhetoric former President Donald Trump has used to describe migrants.

“When I spoke about the difference between Trump and me, one of the things I talked about in the border was his, the way he talks about “vermin,” the way he talks about these people polluting the ’blood.′ I talked about what I’m not going to do. What I won’t do. I’m not going to treat any of these people with disrespect.”

Biden added that migrants “built the country” and are part of the reason the economy is growing.

“So you regret using that word?” Capehart asked.

“Yes,” Biden responded.

Popular in the Community


What's Hot