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President Joe Biden said migration is a human right when people are being persecuted, and cited as an example Jews fleeing Germany.
To be granted asylum, immigrants must prove that they’ve fled their countries because they suffered persecution or fear persecution due to their race, religion, nationality, political opinion or membership in a particular social group.
Biden said that people coming to the U.S. should pass background checks and highlighted his administration’s efforts to crack down on smugglers.
President Joe Biden plans to visit the Mexico-Texas border Jan. 8 and expand an immigration program that will give more migrants from Cuba, Nicaragua, Haiti and Venezuela the chance to enter the U.S. legally.
Biden said that he was taking action because congressional Republicans have refused to consider his proposal for extra funding for additional asylum officers and immigration judges. The new steps "aren’t going to fix our entire immigration system, but they can help us a good deal in better managing what is a difficult challenge," Biden said Jan. 5.
Rep. Andy Biggs, R-Ariz., zeroed in on one part of Biden’s public remarks, tweeting "Biden just compared illegal aliens — lawbreakers who have been found to be terrorists, drug dealers, and bad actors — to Jews fleeing Germany during the Holocaust. Not even remotely the same situation. This kind of mindset prevents us from legitimately securing our border."
Other Republican lawmakers, politicians and pundits suggested that Biden’s remarks about Jews fleeing Nazi Germany were misguided during a speech about the current arrival of migrants to the U.S.
PolitiFact decided to take a closer look at Biden’s comments in context.
Biden mentioned Jews fleeing Germany as an example of migrants who had a human right to flee persecution. Biden also said that people in the U.S. have rights, including the assurance that migrants coming to the U.S. have undergone background checks.
Biden’s comment about Jewish immigrants from Nazi Germany was a response to a question by a reporter who asked Biden if immigration or migration is a "human right."
Biden responded: "Well, I think it is a human right if your family is being persecuted. … I thought it was a human right for, you know, Jews in Germany to get to escape and get help where they could."
Biden added that people already in the U.S. also have a right to know migrants entering the country have been background checked by the federal government.
"But the other side of this is there’s also — the people in this country have basic rights — that are here — basic fundamental rights to assure the people who are coming have been checked out," Biden said. "They’re not criminals. They’re not (a) problem. They’re, you know, that their background checks are real."
Many people who cross the southern U.S. border illegally apply for asylum protection. To be granted asylum, immigrants must prove that they’ve fled their countries because they suffered persecution or fear persecution due to their race, religion, nationality, political opinion or membership in a particular social group.
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Rep. Andy Biggs, R-Ariz., Tweet, Jan. 5, 2023,
White House, Remarks by President Biden on Border Security and Enforcement and video, Jan. 5, 2023
The White House, FACT SHEET: Biden-Harris Administration Announces New Border Enforcement Actions, Jan. 5, 2023
Jerusalem Post, US President Biden compares illegal immigrants to Jews fleeing Nazi Germany, Jan. 5, 2023
Rep. Claudia Tenney, R-NY,, Tweet, Jan. 5, 2023
Former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, Tweet, Jan. 5, 2023
Fox News, Jesse Watters primetime, Jan. 5, 2023
Twitter message exchange, Matthew Tragesser, spokesperson for U.S. Rep. Andy Biggs, Jan. 6, 2022