Sheriff Hodgson: 'We're all becoming border states'

Sheriff Thomas Hodgson

Bristol County Sheriff Tom Hodgson said Monday that he's dealing with a problem in Dartmouth that shouldn't be his responsibility.

It's not a new theme for him. He's sounded the alarm about illegal immigrants before, but now he says it's getting closer and closer to home.

Illegal immigrants come across the border in the American Southwest. When they are detained, the wave of humanity has overwhelmed local capacity. The illegal immigrants are being sent all over the country, including Massachusetts.

"We're all becoming border states now. We want to know, what are the trends? What's happening? What can we expect? We know there are going to be more coming here from Texas. We've already got two groups coming off the planes here," Hodgson said.

Hodgson is on his way to Texas on Tuesday with at least five other sheriffs from around the country to see the situation firsthand and to assess the health implications and the safety threats of all the people coming north.

Immigration lawyer David Borts doesn't see the point.

"I think that it is political. It's a political choice," Borts said.

He said the immigration issue needs to escape the shadow of partisan politics.

"There really does need to be a national consensus on this. It's difficult right now because certain political bodies have decided they don't talk anymore," Borts said.

But Hodgson said it's an emergency.

"One of the immigration attorneys in New Bedford today was reporting that he's in the last two months seen about a hundred unaccompanied children through his practice alone," Hodgson said.

The Wyatt detention center in Central Falls used to house illegal immigrants, but not since a Chinese immigrant died while in custody.

As far as the children coming across the border, there's no telling if they are making their way to Rhode Island now, though reports from New Bedford suggest they are.