Michael O'Brien, NBC News, March 29, 2013
Alaska Rep. Don Young, R, issued a new statement late Friday formally apologizing for his use of a slur to describe immigrant laborers.
Young, who had endured demands by Democrats and other fellow Republicans–including House Speaker John Boehner–to apologize for the use of the term “wetbacks” in a radio interview on Thursday, issued a statement doing just that.
Young said in a statement:
“I apologize for the insensitive term I used during an interview in Ketchikan, Alaska. There was no malice in my heart or intent to offend; it was a poor choice of words. That word, and the negative attitudes that come with it, should be left in the 20th century, and I’m sorry that this has shifted our focus away from comprehensive immigration reform.”
Young had appeared on KRBD radio on Thursday, where he made his initial remark.
“My father had a ranch; we used to have 50-60 wetbacks to pick tomatoes,” Young said. “It takes two people to pick the same tomatoes now. It’s all done by machine.”