Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson said Monday that some slaves brought to America against their will were “immigrants” who “had a dream” that their families would be able to pursue “prosperity and happiness in this land.”
Carson’s remarks came during a speech to employees at the Department of Housing and Urban Development. Carson was confirmed as the department’s secretary last Thursday. As he spoke, the words “Welcome to the HUD Family Secretary Carson!” appeared on a screen behind him.
Midway through his remarks, Carson recalled the history of immigrants coming to America in search of better lives:
“Look at the determination in their eyes: people who worked not five days a week but six or seven days a week. Not eight hours a day but 10, 12, 16 hours a day – no such thing as a minimum wage,” he said. “They worked not for themselves but for their sons and their daughters and their grandsons and their granddaughters that they might have an opportunity in this land. That’s what America is about: a land of dreams and opportunity.
“There were other immigrants who came here in the bottom of slave ships, worked even longer, even harder for less,” he continued. “But they too had a dream that one day their sons, daughters, grandsons, granddaughters, great grandsons, great granddaughters might pursue prosperity and happiness in this land.”
Watch Carson’s remarks below via NBC’s Bradd Jaffy:
Ben Carson at HUD: “There were other immigrants who came here in the bottom of slave ships, worked even longer, even harder for less.” pic.twitter.com/YolvoZQHX7
— Bradd Jaffy (@BraddJaffy) March 6, 2017