Among the many bizarre promises that Donald Trump made during his bid for the White House was the construction of a wall along the border between the United States and Mexico--and the guarantee that Mexico would pay for it.
However, controversial Bristol County Sheriff Thomas M. Hodgson offers another solution: use Bristol County inmates to build it. Yes, boys and girls, you read that right. Yet another member of the law enforcement community has grabbed a few more minutes in the limelight by offering support for a racist agenda. Considering recent events, however, you might not want to take Hodgson's suggestion lightly.
In Trump's original announcement, he appeared to have sealed the financing deal with the Mexican government. If you follow Trump on Twitter, you saw his criticism of the media for failing to report that while taxpayers' money will now be used to front the costs, Mexico will pay us back:
The truth is, current Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto stated in an interview with CNN that, "'There is no way that Mexico can pay [for] a wall like that.'" And, in case you missed it, Vicente Fox Quesada also confirmed that neither he nor Mexico would "pay for his racist monument."
So here comes the good sheriff to the rescue! At his inauguration ceremony on January 4, 2016, held at Bristol Community College, Hodgson made the announcement to the surprise of Governor Baker and his administration saying, “I can think of no other project that would have such a positive impact on our inmates and our country than building this wall."
The proud, card-carrying Republican went on to say that, "Aside from learning and perfecting construction skills, the symbolism of these inmates building a wall to prevent crime in communities around the country, and to preserve jobs and work opportunities for them and other Americans upon release, can be very powerful."
Spokesman for the Governor's office Billy Pittman said in a statement that the current administration prefers that community service projects be performed close to home: “The administration has not been briefed on the sheriff’s proposal.”
This will be Hodgson's 4th six-year term serving as sheriff. The facility he oversees has repeatedly been in violation of health department standards as evidenced by an inspection conducted in April of 2014. Among the 72 violations cited in this report, cleanliness, maintenance and upkeep, and overcrowding were predominant.
You can't make this stuff up, but nonetheless this is a story worth keeping your eye on. Considering that the Capitol buildings, governor's mansions, and other structures protected by the Historic Landmark Commission were built by slaves, it isn't completely out of the realm of possibility that inmates could be used to build the wall, too. Is it?