Tags: Ben Carson | ben carson | reiterates | slaves | involuntary | immigrants

Ben Carson Doubles Down: Slaves Were 'Involuntary Immigrants'

Image: Ben Carson Doubles Down: Slaves Were 'Involuntary Immigrants'
Ben Carson (AP)

By    |   Monday, 06 Mar 2017 10:37 PM

Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson is not backing down after critics lambasted him for referring to slaves brought from Africa as "immigrants."

Appearing Monday on the Sirius XM Radio show of his friend Armstrong Williams, Carson explained that while they may have been "involuntary immigrants," they were immigrants nonetheless, The Hill reports.

"I think people need to actually look up the word immigrant," Carson said on Williams' show. "Whether you're voluntary or involuntary, if you come from the outside to the inside, you're an immigrant. Whether you're legal or illegal, you come from the outside to inside, you're an immigrant. Slaves came here as involuntary immigrants but they still had the strength to hold on."

A caller to the show echoed the sentiments of Carson's Twitter critics, saying, "you can't be an immigrant if you’re brought over here in chains."

"Yes you can, you can be an involuntary immigrant," Carson insisted.

Carson, who is black, said African Americans like himself "should be proud to have ancestors that had the mental strength to endure what so many others had not been able to endure."

"They tried to enslave all kinds of people but they were not able to survive it and that requires a tremendous amount of toughness and willpower and strength and hope and they had that," he said. "Don't let someone turn that into something bad."

Carson's original comments came earlier Monday when he was addressing HUD employees, who he noted gave him a standing ovation and lined up for pictures with him afterward.

"Everyone in that auditorium was with me," Carson said. "They knew exactly what I was saying. It's only those people who are always trying to stir up controversy."

Carson said he never said slavery was not a "horrible thing," but said "those people were strong, they were strong-willed. They didn’t just give up and die like many of the other people who they tried to enslave."

One reason they didn't, he said, is "because they used the brain God gave them and they figured a time would come when there would be freedom, a time would come when their children could achieve."

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Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson is not backing down after critics lambasted him for referring to slaves brought from Africa as "immigrants."
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2017-37-06
Monday, 06 Mar 2017 10:37 PM
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