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Carson refers to slaves as 'immigrants' in talk to HUD employees

Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Ben CarsonBenjamin (Ben) Solomon CarsonOvernight Tech: AT&T chief takes the stand to defend merger | Facebook keeps most users out of EU data law's reach | HUD reopens probe into Facebook housing ads | Venture capital firms go to bat for cryptocurrencies Overnight Finance: IMF chief warns against US-China trade war | Trump, Abe can't strike deal on tariff exemptions | Republicans push Trump to rescind Gateway funds Facebook investigated over alleged housing discrimination MORE referred to slaves as "immigrants" dreaming of a better life in a talk with department employees, according to Monday reports.

“That’s what America is about. A land of dreams and opportunity,” Carson said. “There were other immigrants who came here in the bottom of slave ships, worked even longer, even harder for less.”

He added: "But they, too, had a dream that one day their sons, daughters, grandsons, granddaughters, great-granddaughters might pursue prosperity and happiness in this land."

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Carson, longtime supporter of President Trump who was sworn in as HUD secretary last week, compared abortion to slavery during his bid for the Republican presidential nomination.

“During slavery — and I know that’s one of those words you’re not supposed to say, but I’m saying it — during slavery, a lot of the slave owners thought that they had the right to do whatever they wanted to the slave,” Carson told NBC’s “Meet the Press” in October of 2015.

“What if the abolitionists had said, ‘I don’t believe in slavery, I think it’s wrong, but you guys do whatever you want to do?’ ” added the retired neurosurgeon, who opposes abortion even in the cases of rape and incest.