Lawmaker apologizes for comparing immigrants to rats
Associated Press Writer
Nashville, TN (AP) — Republican state Rep. Curry Todd said Tuesday he is “truly sorry” for likening undocumented undocumented immigrants to rats.
Todd remarked last week that undocumented immigrants can “go out there like rats and multiply” after hearing that federal law requires the state to extend prenatal care to women regardless of their citizenship status because all children born in the U.S. are citizens.
Todd initially acknowledged that he used the wrong words at the legislative committee meeting. He said he meant to say “anchor babies” — itself a term many consider offensive — but refused to apologize for the original remark.
Todd changed course in a statement published on the editorial page of The Tennessean on Tuesday.
“I am truly sorry and I apologize if the comment offended anyone,” he said. “While the comment itself was inappropriate, the issue was and is valid.”
Todd had been under mounting criticism. Immigrant-rights groups protested in front of his suburban Memphis home and called for letters and phone calls to be made to his legislative office.
Democratic Gov. Phil Bredesen last Friday said he would “never refer to any human being in that way” and questioned why Todd would be against prenatal care for any child.
“Why would you ever put any tiny or unborn child into this debate about illegal immigration?” said Bredesen, who leaves office in January. “Let’s not make children pawns in this issue. It’s a grown-up issue.”
A Tennessean editorial on Tuesday suggested that Todd “may not be fit to serve in the Tennessee General Assembly,” while an earlier Jackson Sun editorial called Todd’s remark a “a breathtakingly ignorant thing to say.”
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