Biden Takes Flak for Shocking Apology

( – US President Joe Biden came under fire after his State of the Union speech to lawmakers for referring to college student Laken Riley’s alleged killer as an “illegal” immigrant in the United States. Biden’s use of the term upset some Democratic members of Congress, prompting the president to walk back his wording; however, the backtracking itself then came under fire from House Speaker Mike Johnson.

During his State of the Union speech on March 7, Republican US Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene called on Biden to mention Riley by name. Republicans have criticized the Biden administration for its failure to secure the US borders from illegal immigration.

In February, Riley—a nursing student in Georgia—was allegedly abducted and murdered by an illegal immigrant from Venezuela. The immigrant, Jose Antonio Ibarra, had previously faced arrest by both state and federal law enforcement but remained in the US.

Biden said that he regrets using the word “illegal” to describe Ibarra, adding that he should have instead used a term such as “undocumented” to describe the immigrant. Biden’s backtracking is an “embarrassment,” according to Speaker of the House Mike Johnson.

Biden is cowering to the Democratic base and showing undeserved deference to Ibarra, according to Johnson. Biden should apologize to Riley’s family, Johnson said.

Whereas Biden came under fire from Democrats for correctly noting Ibarra’s immigration status, Republicans instead blasted him for getting Riley’s name wrong. Biden mistakenly called Riley “Lincoln” instead of “Laken” during his speech.

Biden’s mistake was “pathetic,” Riley’s mother, Allyson Philips, said via social media. However, the US House of Representatives passed a bill named in her honor, the Laken Riley Act, on March 7 with bipartisan support.

The legislation condemns Biden’s border security policies, requires Immigration and Customs Enforcement to take custody of illegal immigrants who commit theft-related crimes, and allows state authorities to sue the US Secretary of Homeland Security for injunctive relief if immigration policy failures harm a state or its citizens.

Although Biden may not know Riley’s name, it could end up written on a bill on his desk if the US Senate follows the House’s lead and passes legislation meant to prevent others from experiencing Riley’s fate.

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