Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC) Chairman Rubén Hinojosa (TX-15), released the following statement regarding Rep. Don Young’s use of the term “wetback” in a interview with KRBD local radio in Alaska:
“Shame on Rep. Don Young. It is deeply disheartening that in 2013 we are forced to have a discussion about a member of Congress using such hateful words and racial slurs.
“I agree that now, more than ever, we must resolve the many issues of our broken immigration system, but as we move forward, it’s important that our Republican colleagues are mindful of how words have consequences. When elected officials use racial slurs, it sets back our nation and sets back legislators who are seriously working toward real, bipartisan solutions.
“Rep. Young says that he was just using the language he was accustomed to as he grew up, but there is no excuse for ignorance. He has served alongside Hispanics in Congress since 1973, so he should know terms like “wetback” have never been acceptable.
“As the Republican minority outreach efforts develop, I’d advise their strategists to list “don’t say racial slurs like ‘wetback’ ” as a bedrock for their messaging.
“Our country needs reform that can only be achieved with a bipartisan effort. I am urging Republican leaders, including Speaker Boehner, to condemn this behavior and ask members in their party to act responsibly.”