Washington, Mar 30: Alaskan Republican Don Young has apologized for using the term ‘wetbacks’ to describe immigrant workers in an interview earlier this week.
In a statement issued to a local television station in Anchorage, the Republican congressman said he used a term that was commonly used during his days growing up on a farm in Central California.
He added that he knew that the term was not used in the same way nowadays and he meant no disrespect.
According to ABC News, Young, Alaska’s sole congressman, originally made the comment during a sit-down interview with Ketchikan Public Radio earlier this week.
Talking about how technology is affecting the economy, he referenced an anecdote from his family’s farm in California.
The word is widely considered an ethnic slur and generally refers to those from Mexico who come to the United States illegally by crossing the Rio Grande River, the report said.
The 21-term congressman later issued the statement, which did not come as a full apology but sought to explain his reasoning behind using the word.
According to the report, the word was used by the U.S. government in the 1950s for ‘Operation Wetback’, a massive crackdown on illegal immigration along the U.S.-Mexico border.
Young’s comments come at a time when the Republican Party is attempting to rebrand itself and expand its outreach to various minority groups, chief among them are Latinos, the report added. (ANI)