THIS GUEST OPINION BY:

Marlene Pollock is a New Bedford resident who is the co-founder of The Coalition for Social Justice and is a member of Bristol County for Correctional Justice. She is a retired Professor of History at Bristol Community College and continues to teach part-time. She was also elected twice to the New Bedford School Committee, and is a volunteer organizer in New Bedford and on the Cape.

WBSM’s Barry Richard recently wrote a piece in support of Bristol County Sheriff Thomas Hodgson’s extremist positions on immigration. Richard repeats Hodgson’s biases towards immigrants without regard to facts. This only serves to confuse people, stir their anger toward innocent people, and let those who are truly responsible for people’s discontent off the hook – which is precisely their goal.

Has anyone bothered to inform Sheriff Hodgson that his job description is running the Bristol County House of Correction and making sure people get to their court dates? Why has Hodgson spent “the last 20 years since Sept 11, 2001 on the issue of illegal immigration and the threat to America’s security,” as Richard proudly announces, when it’s not his job?

Hodgson is critical of President Joe Biden’s rejection of former President Donald Trump’s deportation crusade because he thinks it will promote crime, but where are the facts to prove it?

Last spring, Hodgson warned that the release of undocumented ICE detainees in the Bristol County House of Correction would cause murder and mayhem. Well, it didn’t. Worse, Hodgson lied about it. Everyone Judge William Young released on a bracelet was either awaiting their deportation hearings or waiting to be deported, not because of committing any crimes. The judge even remarked that he couldn’t understand “why they were in jail in the first place.” (Editor's Note: Sheriff Hodgson released a list of the crimes of which he said the ICE detainees were accused but said CORI laws prevented him from naming the individuals)

Hodgson’s promotion of a tough guy image, protecting the voters of Bristol County from imagined threats, is really only about scapegoating immigrants to further his political ambitions. That’s not what he was elected for.

Editor's Note: 'SouthCoast Voices' is a series of guest opinions from newsmakers and other people across the region, on relevant issues that directly impact the people of Greater New Bedford and the surrounding communities. The opinions are solely those of the author. If you are interested in contributing, please contact tim@wbsm.com for more information.

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