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Biden regrets using ‘illegal’ to describe Laken Riley’s accused migrant killer: ‘It’s undocumented



In a recent turn of events, President Joe Biden has expressed regret over his use of the term "illegal" during his State of the Union address. The context? The tragic case of Laken Riley, a Georgia nursing student whose life was cut short. The accused killer, an immigrant from Venezuela, has become a focal point in the ongoing immigration debate. But Biden's choice of words has ignited controversy and raised questions about how we discuss immigration in America.


## The Incident

During his State of the Union address, President Biden found himself in a tense exchange with Republicans over border security. The bipartisan deal he advocated for fell apart after former President Donald Trump opposed it. In the heat of the moment, U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, a staunch Trump ally, shouted at Biden to say the name of Laken Riley, the young woman who lost her life. She emphasized that Riley was killed "by an illegal."

Biden's immediate response was to acknowledge the accusation: "By an illegal, that's right." But then he seemed to pause, perhaps realizing the weight of his words. How many others, he wondered, were being killed by "legals"? It was a moment that would later haunt him.


## The Controversial Term

The term "illegal" has a complex history. Once common, it has gradually fallen out of favor, especially among Democrats who have championed immigrant rights. During Trump's presidency, discussions around immigration became increasingly polarized. The language used mattered—whether it was about "border security" or "undocumented immigrants."

Biden's choice to label the accused killer as "illegal" sparked outrage within his own party. Critics argued that the term dehumanized individuals and perpetuated negative stereotypes. It was a departure from the more compassionate tone Biden had promised during his campaign.


## Biden's Apology

In an interview with MSNBC's Jonathan Capehart, Biden acknowledged his mistake: "I shouldn't have used 'illegal'; it's undocumented." His remorse was evident. He didn't want to demean any group, and he sought to distance himself from Trump's rhetoric. Biden emphasized that he would not treat anyone with disrespect, regardless of their immigration status.

This apology marked a shift from the previous day when he hesitated to express regret. But now, he was clear: "What I won't do is talk about these people as vermin or polluters of our blood." It was a powerful statement—one that aimed to bridge the gap between his administration's policies and the tragic loss of Laken Riley.


## The Larger Debate

Laken Riley's death has become a rallying cry for Republicans. They argue that it encapsulates the Biden administration's handling of the U.S.-Mexico border amid a surge of immigrants. The accused killer, an undocumented immigrant from Venezuela, now symbolizes a broader issue—one that transcends individual tragedy.

As the nation grapples with immigration reform, Biden's choice of words matters. It reflects not only policy but also empathy and respect. The delicate balance between securing borders and treating people humanely remains a challenge—one that every leader must navigate.



In the aftermath of Laken Riley's tragic death, President Biden's apology serves as a reminder that words have consequences. The debate over immigration is far from over, but perhaps this incident will prompt a more thoughtful and compassionate dialogue—one that acknowledges the complexities of each individual's journey.