A Massachusetts sheriff is offering inmates in his county jail as free labor if President-elect Donald Trump should decide to go forth with his plans to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, the Herald News reports.
"I can think of no other project that would have such a positive impact on our inmates and our country than building this wall," Bristol County Sheriff Thomas Hodgson said Wednesday during his swearing-in ceremony, marking the beginning of his fourth six-year term in office.
As the Herald News notes, Hodgson has long been a critic of illegal immigration and frequently attacked President Barack Obama's immigration policies.
Now he's taking it just one step further, offering the free inmate labor to the incoming Trump administration through a conceptual national program he dubs Project NICE (National Inmates' Community Endeavors), which, much like Trump's wall plan, is merely an idea and not something set in stone.
It is still unclear which government agency would pay to transport and house however many hundreds or thousands of inmates from across the country. The sheriff said that the details would need to be worked out with the federal government, which, he says, is already spending "millions" to fly undocumented immigrants across the country anyway, the Herald News reports.
Still, Hodgson is pretty adamant that his plan would have some benefits for the nation and the inmates themselves.
"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.
Regardless of Hodgson's feelings about the proposed wall, it is still not clear whether such a wall will actually be built or how it would be paid for. Trump has said that he would make Mexico pay for the wall, but the Mexican foreign minister quickly shut down that thought.
"We won't have legitimate immigration reform in this country until we build a wall," Hodgson said, adding that inmate labor could cut the building costs. "Knowing what I know about President-elect Trump, I gotta imagine he's looking for every resource he can that's going to be the least expensive approach."
Read more at the Herald News.