Critics of Donald Trump’s border security policies and promise to build a border wall have long since bemoaned the costs associated with such a project, claiming that it cannot be done within a reasonable budget, but one sheriff has a plan to help out with the construction in a big way.
Massachusetts Sheriff Thomas Hodgson has come up with a plan that he hopes Trump will take him up on, saying it would benefit both the country and inmates currently serving time in prison.
Hodgson was just elected to his 4th term as sheriff in Bristol County, and has offered to institute a work program for inmates in order to provide labor for Trump’s border wall while at the same time providing prisoners with valuable construction experience.
“I can think of no other project that would have such a positive impact on our inmates and our country than building this wall,” Sheriff Hodgson said in remarks prepared for his swearing-in ceremony. “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.”
Hodgson’s plan would be similar to existing work programs that are already in effect for qualified inmates across the country, but instead of working for a local business each day, they would be transported to the southern border and take up residence in a secured temporary facility. Each day they would work alongside construction crews performing manual labor and picking up skills that they can apply after they have served their terms.
While Trump has promised that Mexico will pay for the wall, one way or another, this work program could help cut costs while at the same time provide a valuable service to the security of our country. I can’t help but notice the irony that some convicts are liking serving time for drug offenses, so what better way to pay back society than to help prevent drugs from entering our country.
Hodgson also went once step further, saying that this work program could be expanded to allow inmates to help rebuild communities and fill basic manual positions on construction jobs. This program could also help mitigate the lack of “cheap labor” that businesses claim they require from illegal immigration.
Sheriff Hodgson said his idea is to build a network of jails committed to having inmates perform community service. The sheriff said the inmates could be deployed to help rebuild communities after natural disasters, but would also be the labor pool for major infrastructure projects.
Jessica Vaughan, policy studies director at the Center for Immigration Studies, said she hopes the Trump administration adopts Sheriff Hodgson’s idea. She said it made sense for jail inmates to be put to work on this project.
“Let’s not forget that some of the people most harmed by illegal immigration are people who have not had the chance to acquire education or skills, who sometimes turn to crime as a result, so if this project helps address their life challenges simultaneously from a policy angle and a personal angle, that’s really worth it,” she said.
She added: “And if illegal immigration is successfully slowed and enforcement increased in the interior, then construction is one of the industries where there should be some better job opportunities for Americans and legal immigrants.”
It’s amazing what can be accomplished with a little American ingenuity, motivation and business sense.