FALL RIVER, Mass. — A sheriff who runs a Massachusetts jail is offering to send inmates to the U.S.-Mexico border to help Republican President-elect Donald Trump build a wall there.
Bristol County Sheriff Thomas Hodgson on Wednesday announced an initiative called Project N.I.C.E., which stands for National Inmates' Community Endeavors.
He made the comments at Bristol Community College in Fall River during an inauguration address for his fourth six-year term as sheriff.
The Republican sheriff has frequently spoken out against illegal immigration. He says inmates from the Bristol County House of Correction in nearby Dartmouth could volunteer to help build the border wall or clean up disaster sites. Hodgson was sworn in at the ceremony by Republican Gov. Charlie Baker, who refused to support Trump during the presidential campaign and didn't vote for him.
Carol Rose, the executive director of the ACLU of Massachusetts, called Hodgson's proposal "perverse, inhumane and likely unconstitutional." Rose said that, if the sheriff follows through with his plan, the ACLU of Massachusetts will "use every tool" to fight him.
FULL STATEMENT FROM ACLU OF MASSACHUSETTS:
Sheriff Hodgson's proposal to use the labor of the men and women in his custody to "build the wall" is perverse, inhumane and likely unconstitutional. It has nothing to do with helping people in Massachusetts, and we hope his constituents join us in demanding a retraction.<br/> <br/> Not only is Sheriff Hodgson willing to get involved with Trump's racially discriminatory plan to build a wall along the US-Mexico border, he is proposing to use modern-day slave labor to do it. The men and women incarcerated at the Bristol County House of Corrections are mostly poor people and people of color. The idea of sending them to build a wall to keep out other people of color who are fleeing violence or devastating poverty is abhorrent.<br/> <br/> If Sheriff Hodgson follows through on this shameful plan, the ACLU of Massachusetts is prepared to use every tool in our toolbox, including litigation, to stop him."