Mexican President Vicente Fox has issued a written statement expressing his respect for minorities, a day after he made a controversial remark about African-Americans.

In a public appearance Friday, Mr. Fox said Mexicans are willing to do jobs in the United States "that not even blacks want to do." The Mexican president made the remark a day after Mexico announced it will formally protest recent U.S. immigration reforms.

The comments drew cries of racism from some Mexican newspapers. U.S. civil rights leader Reverend Jesse Jackson condemned the comparison with African-American workers and called on Mr. Fox to leave race out of the ongoing debate over U.S. immigration policy.

A statement released Saturday from the president's office said Mr. Fox was only trying to highlight the important contribution of Mexican workers in the United States.

Some of this information provided by AP.