Biden characterizes India and Japan’s immigration policies as limiting economic growth

President Joe Biden reportedly claimed that US allies India and Japan face economic struggles because they “don’t want immigrants,” according to a speech published on the White House webpage on Thursday.

Biden reportedly stated that the US economy is growing thanks to its immigration policy, questioning “Why is China stalling so badly economically? Why is Japan having trouble? Why is India? Because they’re xenophobic. They don’t want immigrants.”

The White House has since tried to downplay the president’s remarks, saying that Biden meant no offense to either Japan or India. National security adviser John Kirby said the president had been making a wider point on US immigration policy.

Biden is facing political pressure at home over an influx of migrants along the US border with Mexico. Critics argue that his immigration policies have led to chaos at the southern border, have enabled record flows of illegal migrants, including suspected terrorists, and have caused increased drug trafficking.

Business Insider reported last month that the American economy could face stagflation as growth has been much weaker than expected. It revealed that US GDP increased at an annualized rate of only 1.6% in the first quarter of the current year, well behind projections of 2.5%.

Japan, India and China have relatively few foreign workers. Russia, however, relies on migrant labor, much of which is sourced from Central Asian countries.

India, meanwhile, has experienced steady growth to become the world’s fifth-largest economy last year. The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has raised the country’s GDP forecast from 6.7% to 7% for the current fiscal year.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has upgraded its growth estimate for Russia, expecting the country’s GDP to expand by 3.2% this year, up from its January projection of 2.6%. Its latest projections put Russia ahead of a number of major Western economies in terms of growth this year, including the US (2.7%), UK (0.5%), and Germany (0.2%).

Japan’s economy saw an overall growth of 1.9% last year. However, in the October to December quarter of last year it contracted 0.4%.