WASHINGTON - An Alaska congressman has issued a direct apology after using the racial slur "wetbacks" when discussing migrant workers.
U.S. Rep. Don Young apologized today for using what he described as an "insensitive term" that should have been left behind with the last century.
Young used it while discussing the labor market during an interview this week with Alaska radio station KRBD. In a statement late yesterday, the Republican lawmaker said he "meant no disrespect" but didn't directly apologize. The slur often refers to Mexican migrants who have entered the country illegally. Hispanics consider the term, which can be used to disparage all Hispanics, to be highly pejorative.
Officials from both parties, including House Speaker John Boehner, called today for Young to apologize. The head of an online Latino advocacy group -- Presente.org -- called on Young to resign.