Dr. Ben Carson Makes First Public Remarks as HUD Secretary

Four days after he was confirmed as HUD Secretary, Dr. Ben Carson gave his first public remarks. In speeches, Dr. Carson reiterated that HUD has a vital role to play in developing the potential of all people.

Dr. Carson said that if America wants to compete against growing economies like China and India, HUD must work across silos with other federal agencies to address barriers to education, health, housing, and jobs in a holistic way. He specifically noted his interest in working with the Departments of Education, Labor, Transportation, and Justice to help improve graduation rates, train people with the skills they need for infrastructure jobs, and reduce rates of incarceration.

In his speech to HUD employees, Dr. Carson was widely criticized for referring to slaves as "immigrants.” "That's what America is about, a land of dreams and opportunity," Dr. Carson said. "There were other immigrants who came here in the bottom of slave ships, worked even longer, even harder for less." The secretary issued a statement the next day addressing these comments. He stated, “I’m proud of the courage and perseverance of Black Americans and their incomprehensible struggle from slavery to freedom. I’m proud that our ancestors overcame the evil and repression that we know as slavery. The slave narrative and immigrant narrative are two entirely different experiences. Slaves were ripped from their families and their homes and forced against their will after being sold into slavery by slave traders.”