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President Biden Calls Japan, India and Russia 'Xenophobic'

The president said the American economy was thriving because of immigration during a fundraising dinner

President Biden Calls Japan, India and Russia 'Xenophobic'

President Joe Biden accused Japan, India and other nations of being intolerant because of their immigration policies.

His remarks were part of an address he gave at a fundraiser for his re-election campaign in Washington to mark the start of Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander Heritage Month. Immigration has become a major concern for many Americans after almost four years of increasing illegal immigration at the United States - Mexico border.

Biden told the predominately Asian-American crowd that the American economy was doing well because of “you and many others.” 

“Why? Because we welcome immigrants,” Biden said, per AP News. “Look, think about it. 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.”

“Immigrants are what makes us strong. Not a joke,” continued the Democrat. “That’s not hyperbole, because we have an influx of workers who want to be here and want to contribute.”

White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre defended Biden’s remarks during a press gaggle aboard Air Force One on May 2. A reporter asked the Biden administration official if the president planned to apologize.

“The broader case that he was trying to make – which I think most… most leaders and allies across the globe understand – he was trying to … he was saying that when it comes to… who we are as a nation, we are a nation of immigrants. That is in our DNA,” she said in an audio clip published on X by RNC Research. “And so that - you’ve heard the president say this and you’ve heard us say this more as an administration. It makes us stronger… we are better for it. And I think that is very important to note as well.”

Online political commentators gawked at Biden’s accusation of xenophobia.

Biden berating Japan for being ‘xenophobic’ is an astonishing breach of diplomatic etiquette,” wrote Styxhexenhammer666 on X. “Japan is the largest holder of US debt other than the US public itself and one of our major allies and trading partners. Step off it you old fool.”

“Japan and India are two of our very stoutest and important allies. We should speak of them with respect, which they command and deserve,” said Elbridge Colby, a former Defense Department official, in another post. “Applying parochial progressive views to our allies is patronizing and foolish.” 

Prime Minister Fumio Kishida of Japan visited the White House in March and Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India visited Biden in 2023.

During Fumio’s visit, Biden said that America’s relationship with Japan is powerful proof of that — that in investing in our alliance and raising our collective ambitions, we yield remarkable results.”

“Japan is the top foreign investor in the United States. And we, the United States, are the top foreign investor in Japan. Nearly 1 million Americans work in Japanese companies here in the United States,” said the president during a joint press conference on April 10. “The U.S.-Japan alliance is a beacon to the entire world.”

The Migrant Integration Policy Index, a ranking system from the Migration Policy Group, classified Japan’s immigration policies in 2020 as “halfway unfavorable.” The organization argued Japan fosters “immigration without integration” where immigrants are denied “basic rights and equal opportunities, even if they are able to settle long-term in the country” and that the native population may be encouraged to “to see immigrants as subordinates and not neighbors.”

The MIPI also labeled India’s immigration conditions as “immigration as integration” but “most unfavorable.”

“Immigrants may find ways to settle long-term, but are not supported with basic rights or equal opportunities to participate in society. Policies may encourage the public to see immigrants as subordinates and as strangers,” the organization says.

In contrast, the MIPI classified the United States as slightly favorable with a “comprehensive” approach to integration. 

When India’s Prime Minister visited Washington, D.C. in July of 2023, Biden vowed to build “an even stronger, diverse U.S.-India partnership that will advance the aspirations of our people for a bright and prosperous future grounded in respect for human rights, and shared principles of democracy, freedom, and the rule of law.”

The joint statement released by the White House did not mention immigration.

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