According to the embargoed version of Thursday’s State of the Union address, which journalists previewed, President Joe Biden planned to remain silent about the late Laken Riley, the 22-year old Georgia nursing student who was killed while jogging on Feb. 22, reportedly by Venezuelan illegal alien Jose Antonio Ibarra, 26.

He broke into America in September 2022, under Biden. Bleeding-heart Democratic prosecutors in New York City and Athens, Georgia, liberated Ibarra after police arrested him for less-serious crimes. Before long, authorities say, he fatally crushed Riley’s skull.

But when Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., taunted Biden to “Say her name!” he brandished a pin that read: “Say Her Name—Laken Riley.” Mangling it anyway, Biden declared that “Lincoln” Riley “was killed by an illegal.”

Rather than express outrage that federal and local Democrats failed Riley and let someone with no right to be here kill her, House Democrats exploded over what they consider the real atrocity: Biden’s saying, “illegal.”

Former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California told CNN about Biden: “He should’ve said, ‘undocumented.’” Never mind that illegal aliens often carry foreign identity documents and/or U.S. driver’s licenses and other records. Millions of these documented “undocumented” occupy America.

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

“Biden’s remark about immigrants was ugly and uncalled for,” Rep. Julian Castro, D-Texas, complained also via X: “He’s piling on to Trump’s dangerous rhetoric.”

On Saturday, former President Donald Trump met with and comforted Riley’s devastated family in Rome, Georgia. “We share your grief,” he said.

Meanwhile, that day, Biden apologized for how he described Riley’s accused killer. “I shouldn’t have used ‘illegal,’” Biden told MSNBC’s Jonathan Capehart. “It’s ‘undocumented.’”

Capehart asked: “So, you regret using that word?”

“Yes,” Biden replied.

But the White House obscured matters beyond comprehension on Monday, likely irritating both Left and Right.

“I want to be really clear about something,” deputy press secretary Olivia Dalton told journalists. “The president absolutely did not apologize. There was absolutely no apology in that conversation. He did not apologize. He used a different word.”

So, Biden expressed his regrets for saying “illegal,” but he did not apologize.

Is that clear?

Notwithstanding this oratorical coleslaw, Biden’s original use of “illegal” was as rare among Democrats as their linguistic whitewashing of illegal aliens is ubiquitous.

The White House recently triggered a backlash by calling illegals “newcomers.”

Democrats use the euphemism “migrants” to normalize people who do not belong here. “Migrants” sound like lost tourists who merit hugs, soup, and blankets.

The Left also likes “asylum-seekers,” even though, under Biden, some 1.7 million known gotaways zoomed past Border Patrol without claiming asylum. Exhausted, beleaguered agents wave others through, with little talk of asylum. “Come on in” the message goes. “Enjoy America!”

New York City Mayor Eric Adams, a Democrat and the $53 Million Man, disgustingly calls illegal aliens “our newest Americans.” If a dozen people broke into his house and demanded dinner, would he call them “the newest members of the Adams family”?

This is all typical left-wing word play. When the term “food stamps” became unpopular, the Left rebranded them as “SNAP” for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. SNAP? Sounds fun! 

“Child sexual mutilation” sounds nasty. So, the Left peddles spalike “gender-affirming care.” 

Normal people justifiably hate pedophiles. So, the Left now champions “Minor-Attracted Persons” or MAPs.

Yay! Let’s give SNAP to MAPs!

Meanwhile, far left House Democrats Cori Bush of Missouri, Sylvia Garcia of Texas, Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, and others lectured Biden: “No human is illegal.”

These—ahem—lawmakers know better.

The U.S. Code cites “illegal aliens” at least a dozen times in an excellent database maintained by Cornell Law School’s Legal Information Institute. These include statutes governing “illegal aliens incarcerated in Federal and State prisons” and “illegal aliens convicted of felonies in any Federal or State court” (8 U.S. Code § 1366) as well as “eligibility of illegal aliens for State and local public benefits” (8 U.S. Code § 1621).

So, according to federal law, these people are “illegal aliens.” In fact, some humans are illegal.

Americans should use the phrase “illegal aliens” until all of them are deported, and no others invade this republic.

The Left frets that “illegal alien” might discomfort these lawbreakers.

Too bad. Better yet, good.

Every illegal alien’s first act in America was to break U.S. Code 8 § 1325—Improper Entry by Alien. Violating America’s borders is invasion. Period.

Legal immigrants deserve the care, support, and affection of every American. May they all thrive here in peace and prosperity.

But the comfort of illegal aliens should be the very least of this country’s concerns.

The Daily Signal publishes a variety of perspectives. Nothing written here is to be construed as representing the views of The Heritage Foundation.

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