By ANDREW DeMILLO, in the Associated Press
(11-29) 14:06 PST Little Rock, Ark. (AP) --
An Arkansas legislator apologized Thursday for an e-mail in which he wrote that "we are being outpopulated by the blacks" and "we are being overrun" by illegal immigrants.
But state Sen. Denny Altes insisted the comments in the e-mail he sent earlier this month to former Fort Smith Mayor Bill Vines were not racist.
"I apologize and I am sorry if it hurt anyone's feelings. ... I'm sorry if it offended anyone, but I didn't consider it a racist remark," Altes told The Associated Press Thursday.
Altes, who is white, wrote in the e-mail that he was in favor of returning illegal aliens to their countries, but "we know that is impossible."
"We are where we were with the black folks after the Revolutionary War," Altes wrote. "We can't send them back and the more we (anger them) the worse it will be in the future.... Sure we are being overrun but we are being outpopulated by the blacks also."
Altes said he was responding to an inflammatory e-mail.
Arkansas GOP chairman Dennis Milligan criticized Altes, a Republican from Fort Smith, for the comments.
"They are disrespectful and denigrating to the practical concerns of how we truly address illegal immigration," Milligan said in a statement released by the party.
My comment: ... at least in public. And regarding the comments about minority groups, I guess the tent just got a lot smaller.
I am not a racist.
I am not gay.
I am not a bigot.
Working hard to out do "I did not have sexual relations with that woman"?
All I know is that racism and xenophobia are not part of my family values.