Sheriff Hodgson Meets With President Trump on Illegal Immigration
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Bristol County Sheriff Thomas Hodgson was among a small group of law enforcement and lawmakers that met with President Donald Trump at the White House Tuesday to discuss immigration reform, border security and transnational gangs like MS-13.
"We need these immigration laws changed," President Trump said to the group. "We have people coming into this country illegally and we can't get them out. It's ridiculous. We have to strengthen our laws..the world is laughing at us."
Sheriff Hodgson said President Trump was quite engaged with the group, listening to ideas and concerns while offering some insight into his own plans to combat the crimes associated with illegal immigrants and gangs.
"The president is very focused on the most important fundamental issue affecting our country, and that is immigration, and being able to make sure citizens of our communities are safe," Hodgson said.
Hodgson said not only did they get to discuss the "viciousness" of the MS-13 gang and how they're going to attack it, but they also talked about new approaches in terms of identifying people using false identification, as well as border security.
"It was an interactive (discussion), and the president certainly weighed in on a number of things, as far as priorities go, and shared his same frustration with the immigration border security issues that have lingered for years and years," Hodgson said.
Sheriff Hodgson was one of three sheriffs in the round table meeting, joining others from Maryland and Virginia. Hodgson said the group of about 20 total people--which included other law enforcement such as Immigrations and Customs Enforcement and Homeland Security, along with Cabinet members and members of Congress--met in the Roosevelt Room in the West Wing.
"Everyone in that room (was) very focused on what is the problem, what's undermining our ability to keep the people of our nation safe, and what are the steps we need to do going forward in regards to legislation, and the interaction between our agencies--local, state and federal," Hodgson said.
He said a bill has been filed called the Criminal Illegal Alien Removal Act, which would allow illegal immigrants identified as gang members to be removed from the country strictly because of their affiliation with transnational gangs like MS-13.
"Unfortunately, our delegation in Massachusetts didn't vote to support it at all," Hodgson said. "It has to go before the Senate, and hopefully the Senate will weigh in and we can get these things passed."
Hodgson said he's been fighting for changes in immigration for 20 years, and that he can't believe it's taken this long.
"It's 20 years, and you still can't drill down and solve it?" he asked. "The American people are starting to get the picture that people in Congress are not really focused on getting end results on issues like this. They're more interested in the politics of it, and that's why it's been a constant stalemate back and forth between both parties."
Hodgson said he believes President Trump is the person to break that stalemate.
"He's a very focused person. He's a very friendly and engaging person, but he's very focused on the end game. He wants to see results," said Hodgson, who said he thinks Trump possesses all the qualities of a great leader. "He's looking for the end game, he's not interested in politics. Just, 'Let's get it done, what do we need to do to get it done?' And that's the kind of president we haven't seen in a long time, and certainly one that our country needs at this point in our history."
Following the meeting, Sheriff Hodgson spoke with Kirstjen Nielsen, Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, and U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions about some ideas on combatting illegal immigration and eliminating so-called "sanctuary" communities.
While in Washington, Sheriff Hodgson also participated in a media event sponsored by the Federation for Immigration Reform at the National Press Club with other sheriffs from across the country and members of the Advocates for Victims of Illegal Alien Crime, which included parents who have lost children and other family members to illegal aliens in the United States.
Sheriff Hodgson will be back at the White House Wednesday morning with AVIAC members and other sheriffs, for a policy meeting with White House staff members working on illegal immigration and border security legislation.