New Bedford State Representative Antonio Cabral has rejected a challenge by Sheriff Tom Hodgson to debate Hodgson on several immigration related issues.

Hodgson challenged Cabral to debate on my radio program after Cabral filed legislation to thwart the sheriff on two fronts.  The first bill would prohibit Hodgson from providing inmates to assist with the construction of a wall along the Mexico border to help control the flow of illegal immigration.   The second would block the use of state funds for a partnership between the sheriffs of Bristol and Plymouth Counties to assist ICE in identifying dangerous criminal illegal aliens before they can be released from incarceration.

In resisting Hodgson's efforts Cabral insists that they would cost the Commonwealth funds it cannot afford to spend during tight budgetary times.  Hodgson says the argument is unfounded and that Cabral is simply being political because of his opposition to the immigration policies of the Trump Administration.

In refusing Hodgson's  debate challenge Cabral has offered to meet with Hodgson one on one to discuss the issues.  Hodgson says any discussion should be in full ear shot of the general public so that people can clearly understand the facts.  Cabral has also refused three separate invitations to appear on WBSM to discuss the matter.

Representative Cabral is clearly attempting to block law enforcement from cooperating with federal immigration officials.  Whether his motives are political or something else has yet to be determined but he certainly owes it to the people of Massachusetts to come forward and discuss the reasons behind his actions.

Editor's Note: Barry Richard is the afternoon host on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from Noon-3pm. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.