The image, created by artist Sean Delonas, depicts a white couple being held up at gunpoint by members of the MS-13 gang, one of whom has a bomb strapped to his body.
“Now, honey ... I believe they prefer to be called ‘Dreamers,’” says the white woman. “Or future Democrats.”
The drawing “appeared to us to be poking at President Trump’s rhetoric by portraying a quaking Republican couple who were painting Dreamers with a broad, totally false, brush," said Karen Moses, the editor of The Albuquerque Journal, in her apology.
"In hindsight, instead of generating debate, this cartoon only inflamed emotions. This was not the intent, and for that, the Journal apologizes ... I repeat that the Albuquerque Journal does not condone racism or bigotry in any form." Moses continued.
“That’s not the way I read it,” said Delonas. “I’ve learned that MS-13 is purposely sending minors over here to commit crimes. I’m pretty sure that the cartels are using minors for a lot of their drug dealing.”
New Mexico’s entire congressional delegation had issued a statement describing the image as “racist and divisive.”
Meanwhile, criticism from social media users poured in to The Albuquerque Journal.
"There is no explanation aside from outright racist paranoia for associating Dreamers with notorious gang members and terrorists, and this cartoon draws heavily from the kind of crude stereotypes that any respectable publication should have abandoned decades ago," said Signature writer Tom Blunt on Facebook.
“There obviously will be another story tomorrow, as we treat this controversy as we would with any newsworthy controversy,” Moses added, noting that reporters and writers for her Journal should not be implicated in the scandal, as they had nothing to do with the editorial board's decision to run the cartoon.
Cartoons by Delonas have courted controversy before. In 2009, Rupert Murdoch was forced to publicly apologize for an image that seemed to depict President Obama as a monkey.
[Photo: Twitter @seandelonas]