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  Republican Rep. Don Young refers to Latinos using racial slur
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ContributorAJ 
Last EditedAJ  Mar 28, 2013 11:20pm
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AuthorAaron Blake
MediaNewspaper - Washington Post
News DateFriday, March 29, 2013 04:00:00 AM UTC0:0
DescriptionRep. Don Young (R-Alaska), in an interview with a local radio station released Thursday, referred to Latinos working on a ranch by using the derogatory term “wetbacks.”

“My father had a ranch. We used to hire 50 or 60 wetbacks and — to pick tomatoes,” Young said in the interview with KRBD. “You know, it takes two people to pick the same tomatoes now. It’s all done by machine.”

The term “wetback” is a slur often used to refer to illegal Mexican immigrants. Merriam-Webster defines it as “a Mexican who enters the United States illegally,” “from the practice of wading or swimming the Rio Grande where it forms the U.S.-Mexico border.”

In a statement released late Thursday, Young said that during the KRBD interview, “I used a term that was commonly used during my days growing up on a farm in central California. I know that this term is not used in the same way nowadays and I meant no disrespect.”

In his statement, Young said migrant workers “play an important role in America’s workforce, and earlier in the said interview, I discussed the compassion and understanding I have for these workers and the hurdles they face in obtaining citizenship. America must once and for all tackle the issue of immigration reform.”
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