Tags: Barack Obama | Ben Carson | obama | called | slaves | immigrants | ben carson

Like Carson, Obama Called Slaves 'Immigrants'

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By    |   Tuesday, 07 Mar 2017 07:05 PM

Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson was lambasted by critics Monday after referring to Africans who came to America aboard slave ships as "immigrants," but former President Barack Obama has used the same language.

Carson, speaking to HUD employees on Monday, said, "There were other immigrants who came in the bottom of slave ships, who worked even longer, even harder, for less, 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."

Carson, who is black, took heat from the NAACP, the Anne Frank Center and several others over the remarks. But he was undeterred, and instead of apologizing, he doubled down during a Monday night appearance on Armstrong Williams' Sirius XM Radio show.

"I think people need to actually look up the word immigrant," Carson told Williams.

"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."

And according to the nonpartisan American Presidency Project, which archives the public statements of every president, President Barack Obama also used the term "immigrants" to describe slaves brought against their will to America.

During remarks to a group of newly naturalized citizens at the National Archives and Records Administration on December 15, 2015, Obama said:

"It wasn't always easy for new immigrants. Certainly, it wasn't easy for those of African heritage who had not come here voluntarily and yet in their own way were immigrants themselves. There was discrimination and hardship and poverty. But, like you, they no doubt found inspiration in all those who had come before them. And they were able to muster faith that, here in America, they might build a better life and give their children something more."

The Federalist found 10 other times Obama used similar verbiage, though in those incidents he doesn't specifically call slave "immigrants."

At a naturalization ceremony in 2012, he said, "We say it so often, we sometimes forget what it means — we are a nation of immigrants. Unless you are one of the first Americans, a Native American, we are all descended from folks who came from someplace else — whether they arrived on the Mayflower or on a slave ship, whether they came through Ellis Island or crossed the Rio Grande."

Carson isn't the only Republican who came under fire this week for words that turned out to echo those of Obama. Utah Sen. Jason Chaffetz said Tuesday that people should perhaps skip buying the next iPhone so they could pay for their own health insurance. Obama said the essentially the same thing in 2014.

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Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson was lambasted by critics Monday after referring to Africans who came to America aboard slave ships as "immigrants," but former President Barack Obama has used the same language.
obama, called, slaves, immigrants, ben carson
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2017-05-07
Tuesday, 07 Mar 2017 07:05 PM
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