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Mass. House Works To Prevent Prisoners From Building The Border Wall

BOSTON (CBS) - Massachusetts lawmakers are working on a bill that would prevent the state's inmates from being sent to the U.S. border with Mexico.

Massachusetts House Speaker Robert DeLeo told WBZ-TV's Jon Keller the bills give the Commonwealth an opportunity to review spending to ensure state money is used wisely.

"It gives us an opportunity to review so many of the items that are coming out of Washington, and to decide which of those projects are important to the Commonwealth and what we can do to protect the taxpayers of the Commonwealth," DeLeo said.

Bristol County Sheriff Thomas Hodgson is against the legislative proposals. Hodgson touched-off a controversy at his second inauguration when he said he would send Bristol County inmates to help build President Trump's border wall. Hodgson says the legislation shows that in Massachusetts, political agendas are number one.

Tom Hodgson
Bristol County Sheriff Tom Hodgson (WBZ-TV)

"If the Massachusetts legislature supports these two bills, it will show once again that personal political agendas are more important than keeping our citizens and legal residents safe," Hodgson said.

Hodgson adds, "The fact that it will not cost taxpayers an extra dime for these programs, and in fact would save the state from the high cost of apprehending and prosecuting a criminal illegal alien who was already in custody, reaffirms that the legislature's priority is politics over people."

In his second inauguration as Sheriff, Hodgson said the project would have a positive impact on the nation and on the prisoner's character.

"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 said.

Massachusetts Speaker of the House Robert DeLeo. (Photo credit: WBZ-TV)

A second bill also being considered by the House would also prohibit Massachusetts Sheriffs from using state funds to enforce federal immigration laws.

You watch Jon Keller's full interview with House Speaker Robert DeLeo Sunday morning at 8:30.


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