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White House Defends Biden Calling Japan, India 'Xenophobic'

07:46 AM May 03, 2024 IST | NEWS Desk
white house defends biden calling japan  india  xenophobic
White House defends Biden calling Japan, India 'xenophobic'

Washington, DC [US]: Hours after President Joe Biden termed India, Japan and other nations, "xenophobic," the White House clarified the President's intentions, emphasising his "respect" for allies and partners.

White House Press Secretary Karine Jean Pierre asserted that the President's comments were part of a broader message emphasising the strength derived from America's immigrant heritage.

"Our allies and partners know very well how much this President respects them...He was making a broad comment speaking about this (US) country, speaking about how important it is to be a country of immigrants and how it makes our country stronger."

The Press Secretary stressed that Biden's focus remains on bolstering diplomatic relationships with nations such as India and Japan, evident in his actions over the past three years.

"Obviously, we have a strong relationship with, India with Japan, and the President if you just look at the last three years has certainly focused on those diplomatic relationships," she added.

"The broader case that he was trying to make," Jean Pierre continued, "which most leaders and allies across the globe understand that when it comes to who we are as a nation, we are a nation of immigrants."

Emphasising the significance of America's immigrant identity, she reiterated Biden's belief that diversity strengthens the nation. "That is in our DNA. You have heard the President say it, it makes us better, and we are stronger for it and that is a very important point to know," Jean Pierre said

The comments were made at a Washington, DC, fundraiser that marked the start of Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, which celebrates diversity in the United States. "One of the reasons why our economy is growing is because of you and many others. Why? Because we welcome immigrants," Biden said, according to a pool report and a transcript sent out by the White House.

"Why is China stalling so badly economically? Why is Japan having trouble? Why is Russia? Why is India? Because they're xenophobic. They don't want immigrants," he continued. "Immigrants are what makes us strong. Not a joke. That's not hyperbole, because we have an influx of workers who want to be here and just contribute," he added.

White House National Security Communications Advisor John Kirby, also defended the President's comments, telling reporters that allies and partners like India and Japan understood that Biden "completely and utterly values the idea of alliances and partnerships."

Immigration is a polarising issue in US politics, and will almost certainly play a major role in the November presidential election. Illegal border crossings have contributed to an average 2 million influx per year since 2021, the highest level ever.

Polls show broad public disapproval of how President Biden has handled the surge, and former president Donald Trump, who also faced criticism for his immigration policies, is running for office on promises to crack down and deport millions of people.

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