Posted on March 11, 2024

Biden Says He Regrets Using the Word ‘Illegal’ During State of the Union

Lauren Egan and Myah Ward, Politico, March 9, 2024

President Joe Biden on Saturday said he regretted using the word “illegal” during his State of the Union address to describe the Venezuelan man charged with killing a Georgia nursing student, who authorities say entered the U.S. illegally.

“I shouldn’t have used illegal, it’s undocumented,” Biden said in an interview with MSNBC host Jonathan Capehart.

Biden went off script during his Thursday night address to Congress after Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) interrupted him, shouting “Laken Riley,” the name of the 22-year-old Georgia medical student allegedly killed by an undocumented immigrant.

“Lincoln Riley, an innocent young woman who was killed by an illegal,” Biden said, mispronouncing her first name. “To her parents, I say my heart goes out to you.”

Democrats and immigration advocates have long rejected the word “illegal,” arguing that it’s dehumanizing towards immigrants. There was swift pushback to Biden’s use of the term, particularly since he ordered his immigration agencies in 2021 to no longer use “illegal alien” to describe undocumented immigrants.