Dartmouth, MA: On Thursday morning about twenty people demonstrated outside the home of Bristol County Sheriff Thomas Hodgson over the county's "287(g)" agreement with Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE). The protest was carried out despite record breaking frigid weather which saw temperatures drop into the teens.
In February 2017 the Bristol County Sheriff’s Office (BCSO), led by Sheriff Hodgson, signed a 287(g) agreement with ICE, which deputizes BCSO personnel the authority to exercise immigration-related functions usually reserved for ICE officers. Barnstable and Plymouth Counties, along with the Massachusetts Department of Corrections have 287(g) agreements with ICE.
The group held two banners, one that said "Sheriff Hodsgon Stop Separating Families" and another one that read "Bristol County End Your Agreements with ICE". The demonstration was organized by The FANG Collective, an organizing group based out of Rhode Island that uses nonviolent direct action to target institutions affecting marginalized communities.
On August 20th the group blockaded the entrances of the Bristol County House of Corrections with two people climbing 24 foot tri-pods while two others locked into a concrete barricade. Bristol County Sherriffs forcibly pulled apart the tri-pods, injuring both climbers, and cut apart the concrete barricade.
"The Bristol County Sheriff's Office is guilty of separating families by incarcerating and detaining people, and by facilitating deportations throughout the Northeast. We are outside of Sheriff Hodgson's house today to highlight his actions against undocumented community members, and to disrupt this day that those celebrating their colonizer heritage will be with their families, knowing that they can continue to visit as they wish. People currently incarcerated and detained in the Bristol County Jail and House of Corrections deserve to spend this day, and every day with their families as well." Statement from The FANG Collective.
In recent months, Sheriff Hodgson and the BCSO has been a hotbed of controversy, sparking multiple protests and lawsuits. Sheriff Hodgson has also faced criticism for his relationship with President Trump, even recently appearing at the White House with the President to announce an online fundraising campaign to "build the wall" across the United States' southern border.
This past summer, in response to deplorable conditions at the Bristol County House of Corrections, including inedible food, nearly nonexistent medical care, and abuse from facility employees, ICE detainees launched a hunger strike. The protest was soon joined by the general population at the prison.
"Over-policing communities of color is an issue that needs to end, whether it's being done by the police or ICE agents. The agreement between the Bristol County Sheriff's Office and ICE show the direct link between these two institutions that serve to terrorize and punish community members. It's time for Bristol County to end their 287(g) agreement." Statement from The FANG Collective.