BRISTOL, Mass. (WPRI) – After taking a trip to Texas to receive a first-hand look at the national immigration crisis, Bristol County Sheriff Thomas Hodgson is back in New England with reactions.
Hodgson joined Eyewitness News reporter Todd Wallace on Monday to discuss the – in his words – “terrible” situation at the nation’s southern border. Record numbers of undocumented immigrants, many of whom are unaccompanied children from Guatemala, El Salvador or Honduras, are crossing the border, prompting President Obama to ask several governors across the country to work with the federal government to house the children while they are transferred through the immigration legal system.
Hodgson said he believes failed policies in Washington have “only made the situation worse.” Even though Mass. Gov. Deval Patrick has already proposed two potential temporary housing locations for undocumented children, Hodgson said he does not believe the state has the resources to keep the children safe.
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“When they walk out on those streets, they are going to get exploited again because they know that they aren’t from here. They’re going to be looking for the weakest link and they’re going to victimize them. And we know this, and we know that they’re gonna keep coming with emotional issues that perhaps happened along the way,” Hodgson said on Monday.
He continued, “We know that they’re going to have a difficult time being the place in the schools. The schools are overtaxed, the teachers don’t have the resources to be teaching these kids who don’t speak English while still tending to the kids in class who are American citizens.”
Hodgson said he believes the best solution to the immigration crisis is improving security at the border.
Gov. Patrick has not yet been asked by the federal government to assist in the situation. When he proposed the two locations, he said control and financial responsibility of the project would fall on the federal government.
In Rhode Island, Gov. Lincoln Chafee reiterated Monday that he had not yet been contacted by federal officials concerning immigration. He said last week that he and his staff were scouting possible locations in case the state were to be asked to help.