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.
"We have inmates that are already great masons — it’s not just about masonry it’s as simple as moving materials to the wall, maybe digging in certain areas," Hodgson said.
He made the comments at Bristol Community College in Fall River during an inauguration address for his fourth six-year term as sheriff.
"We have to create a border down there that prevents jobs from being taken away from Americans that prevents criminals from coming in, including terrorists," he said.
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.
"We’ve seen too many people killed in our communities because of criminal, illegal aliens coming here," said Hodgson.
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.
Baker's spokesman weighed in on Hodgson's proposal on Thursday, saying the governor would prefer that the inmates continue to work on community services closer to home.
"The administration has not been briefed on the Sheriff's proposal," Press Secretary Billy Pitman said.