Inmates from around the country could be forced to build President-elect Donald Trump’s long promised Mexican border wall.
All the free labor and manpower has been offered up by Republican Massachusetts county Sheriff Thomas Hodgson, who recently proposed the idea of having inmates construct the estimated 400-mile embankment during his swearing in ceremony for a fourth term in nearby Bristol County.
“I can think of no other project that would have such a positive impact on our inmates and our country than building this wall,” said Hodgson. “Aside from learning and perfecting construction skills, the symbolism of these inmates building a wall to prevent crime in communities around the country, and to preserve jobs and work opportunities for them and other Americans upon release, can be very powerful.”
Trump has billed the proposed and estimated multi-billion dollar project as a much needed deterrent to illegal immigration. Throughout his campaign, he made building the wall and cracking down on illegal immigration staples of his platform.
During those times, Trump was just as insistent that the Mexican government would be forced to foot the bill for the project.
Since posting his upset win over Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton in November, Trump has backed away from those boasts, and now admits that American taxpayers will have to pay for the construction, though he vows that Mexico will reimburse the U.S. for those costs at a later date.
“The dishonest media does not report that any money spent on building the Great Wall (for sake of speed), will be paid back by Mexico later,” he recently tweeted.
That post came just minutes after Trump hastily deleted a similarly charged, error-filled message where he wrote, “The dishonest media is not reporting that any money spent, for the sake if speed, on building the Great Wall, will be paid back by Mexico.”
Several media outlets have reported Trump and his GOP-backed Congress are in ongoing talks in their search for ways to come up with the money needed to pay off the hefty expenditure. Recent reports are the new administration plans to make use of an old Bush-era tax law where funding for the project would be cloaked in another, must-pass spending bill.
“If tied to the rest of government funding, it’s much harder for the Democrats to stop, and by the way, I think it’s much harder for Democrats to vote against it if what you’re doing is authorizing funding for an existing law,” Indiana Republican Rep. Luke Messer recently told reporters.
Beyond that, Trump has offered few details on how he plans to force Mexico to reimburse the U.S. after the wall has already been built. From the moment he began assuring supporters that the Mexican government would be picking up all the cost for the construction, leaders there have scoffed at the notion.
“Trump may ask whoever he wants, but still neither myself nor Mexico are going to pay for his racist monument,” former Mexico president Vicente Fox Quesada recently posted to Twitter.
In the face of Trump’s apparent flip-flop, U.S. Secretary of Labor and Democratic National Committee chair candidate Tom Perez pointed to Trump’s alleged history of short-changing workers.
“Once again, Donald’s lying about repayment for projects,” he posted to social media. “You’ll be stuck with the bill — just like his contractors.”
Just prior to the election, Trump doubled down on his vow to deport millions of undocumented immigrants as soon as he takes office.
“What we are going to do is get the people that are criminal and have criminal records, gang members, drug dealers, where a lot of these people, probably 2 million, it could be even 3 million, we are getting them out of our country or we are going to incarcerate,” he said.
[Featured Image by Mark Wallheiser/Getty Images]