DARTMOUTH — Bristol County Sheriff Thomas M. Hodgson says his department’s aggressive stance on immigration reform won’t sink or swim based on whether America embraces or rejects President-elect Donald Trump’s policies.

The hard-nosed peace officer’s longstanding dream of being authorized by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement to screen foreign-born arrestees for possible deportation will become a reality in the next four to six months, following yesterday’s signing of a 287(g) partnership agreement by Hodgson and Matt Albence, ICE’s assistant director of enforcement.

Hodgson — who has offered to provide Trump inmate labor to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border — told the Herald, “This has nothing to do with this current president at all, although I’m pleased that he’s taken the position that he has on immigration.

“Look, we’re a country of laws. We’re not going to be bullied back on this idea that somehow we’re anti-immigrant because we’re simply saying we’re going to enforce the laws of our country.”

A half dozen protesters held signs in a driving rain yesterday far beyond the secured walls of the sheriff’s department, where the pact was inked. ICE reports it has 287(g) agreements with more than 30 law enforcement agencies in 16 states. Hodgson was only the second in Massachusetts, behind the Department of Correction. Plymouth County Sheriff Joseph McDonald Jr. became the third later yesterday.

After jail officers specially trained by ICE identify pretrial detainees as foreign-born during their processing, interview them and run their information against ICE’s database, the feds alone will decide who they want to detain and who will get free passes.


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