Young Apologizes for 'Wetback' Comment

Facing pressure from his own leaders, Rep. Don Young, R-Alaska, finally issued an apology Friday for using a racial epithet to describe Hispanic laborers in an interview published Thursday with a home-state radio station.

Young said in the interview that his family farm had employed “50 to 60 wetbacks to pick tomatoes.”

“I apologize for the insensitive term I used during an interview in Ketchikan, Alaska,” Young said in a statement. “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.”

Earlier in the day, Speaker John A. Boehner, R-Ohio, demanded Young issue an apology, after an earlier statement from the Alaska Republican did not do so explicitly.