‘Needs To Do Better’: Liberals Slam Biden’s SOTU Comment Calling Laken Riley’s Alleged Murderer ‘An Illegal’

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Mary Lou Masters Contributor
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Liberals slammed President Joe Biden’s use of the noun “illegal” when describing 22-year-old nursing student Laken Riley’s alleged murderer during his State of the Union address Thursday.

Republicans demanded the president say Riley’s name during his speech, as he had yet to directly address the tragedy publicly since she was killed on Feb. 22. Biden’s comments were met with criticism from his left flank for how he characterized Jose Antonio Ibarra, the murder suspect who is an illegal immigrant from Venezuela released into the country under the president’s administration.

“He should have said ‘undocumented,’” former Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told CNN. (RELATED: Biden Bullied Into Saying Laken Riley’s Name, Butchers It)

“As a proud immigrant, I’m extremely disappointed to hear President Biden use the word ‘illegal,'” Democratic Rep. Chuy Garcia of Illinois wrote on X.

Biden said the 22-year-old was “an innocent young woman who was killed by an illegal,” and also appeared to mispronounce Riley’s first name as “Lincoln” rather than “Laken.”

“The rhetoric President Biden used tonight was dangerously close to language from Donald Trump that puts a target on the backs of Latinos everywhere,” Democratic Rep. Joaquin Castro of Texas wrote on X. “Democrats shouldn’t be taking our cues from MAGA extremism.”

Marisa Limón Garza, the executive director of Las Americas Immigrant Advocacy Center, told Politico that Biden’s comment “was painful.”

“At best, it’s like when my father, a septuagenarian, makes an unintentional gaffe or foible. At worst, it’s a tired, racist trope. Either way, he needs to do better,” Garza said.

Riley never returned home from a morning run two weeks ago, and was later found deceased by “blunt force trauma” on the University of Georgia’s campus. Ibarra was arrested a day later on charges of malice murder, felony murder, aggravated battery, aggravated assault, false imprisonment, kidnapping, hindering a 911 call and concealing the death of another.

The Republican-led House passed the Laken Riley Act prior to the State of the Union Address, which would require detaining illegal immigrants who commit crimes in the U.S., among other provisions in response to the tragedy. More than half of the House Democratic Caucus — 170 members — voted against the legislation.

The White House did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.

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