Ben Carson incorrectly suggests African slaves were ‘immigrants’ to US

Housing and Urban Development secretary portrayed enslaved people’s forced migration to Americas as journey to ‘land of dreams and opportunity’ in speech

Ben Carson ushered in his tenure as secretary of Housing and Urban Development by suggesting that Africans brought to the Americas during the Middle Passage as slaves were “immigrants” who imagined the US as a “land of dreams and opportunity”.

“That’s what America is about,” Carson said. “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. 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.”

His remarks came in his first address to employees of the agency, which he was confirmed to run by the Senate last week despite a lack of any formal knowledge on housing or development policy.

Enslaved Africans were, of course, not immigrants, and were transported in the cramped, disease-infested holds of ships while shackled stationary as property of “new world” and European corporations. The enslaved had virtually no knowledge of where they were being taken, and less than 10% of the tens of millions of Africans transported wound up on the shores of the US, with a majority landing in South America and the Caribbean.

Carson earned instant and biting ridicule for his remarks, with many online poking fun at the former neurosurgeon.

Dear Ben Carson, I pulled up the definitions for ‘immigrant’ and ‘slave’ for you below. @SecretaryCarson #TheMoreYouKnow pic.twitter.com/I3FhI7GEEV

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Senate votes to repeal labor protection laws that safeguarded poultry workers

Trump has vowed to sign bill to eliminate Obama-era mandate to disclose on-site injuries and fatalities, which occur at a high rate in chicken-processing industry

The Trump administration and Senate Republicans rolled back labor protection laws on Monday in a pair of moves that labor advocates predict will chill complaints by vulnerable workers, especially in the low-wage food processing industry, which relies heavily on easily exploited undocumented laborers.

The Senate voted along party lines, 49-48, to repeal an Obama-era executive order mandating accurate labor violation record-keeping, meaning that companies with on-the-job accidents and fatalities no longer have to disclose that information in order to receive lucrative government contracts. Earlier the same day, Trump issued an executive order promising to “rigorously evaluate all grounds of inadmissibility or deportability” with respect to foreign nationals on US soil.

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The Guardian Essential Report, 7 March results

This report summarises the results of a weekly poll conducted by Essential Research with data provided by Your Source. Some questions are repeated regularly (such as political preference and leadership approval), while others are unique to each week and reflect media and social issues that are present at the time

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