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Lawmaker backpedals on apology

Published April 17, 2007


TALLAHASSEE - Rep. Don Brown on Monday qualified the apology he made last week for e-mailing a cartoon poking fun at illegal immigrants, and asked for a state investigation to determine if they are a burden to Florida's taxpayers.

The DeFuniak Springs Republican said at a news conference his apology may have been misconstrued. Brown said he intended to apologize only for offending some of the lawmakers who received his e-mail - not for its message or use of the term "illegal aliens," which some consider derogatory.

The cartoon read: "Don't forget to pay your taxes ... 12 million illegal aliens are depending on you!"

"Illegal, illegal, illegal, what does that mean?" Brown said. "I don't understand at all why they were offended. I see absolutely nothing wrong with the e-mail."

Brown said the cartoon raised a legitimate question about whether undocumented immigrants are a drain on the state's budget and economy.

Brown said he planned to ask legislative leaders and Gov. Charlie Crist to order an investigation to determine how many illegal immigrants are in Florida and the financial effect they have on public services such as health care, housing, schools, jails and prisons.

[Last modified April 17, 2007, 01:09:47]

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