Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson speaks at the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO) convention in Las Vegas, Nev., June 17, 2015. 
Photo by Steve Marcus/Reuters

Carson: Latinos don’t just care about immigration


Speaking to a group of Latino elected officials, Republican presidential candidate Dr. Ben Carson said immigration politics pigeonholes Latinos.

“A lot of people told me what I should talk about when I came here, they said Latino elected officials? You need to talk about immigration,” Carson told the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials on Wednesday afternoon. “Well that’s like when I talk to an [African American] group and they say you need to talk about government entitlements. Give me a break! People have a vast variety of things that they’re interested in and to pigeonhole people into one area I think indicates something more about the person doing the pigeonholing.”

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Carson, who routinely complains about the “P.C. police,” often portrays himself as an outsider to politics and has suggested that progressives are manipulating minorities by making them think they are victims. 

Latino voters do vote on a number of issues – in 2014, Pew Research found the economy to be the group’s top concern – but they also widely support immigration reform: A full 66% of Latino voters said immigration reform was “extremely or very important,” according to Pew polling from the same year. 

And Carson himself did offer up his own immigration solution.

“We do have an immigration problem that would be solved if you sealed the borders and ceased the benefits, so that people wouldn’t see a reason to come here,” he said. “However as a compassionate nation and compassionate people, we should say what can we do to help the people in nations who feel they don’t have the opportunity in their nation.”