An outspoken Massachusetts sheriff and strong opponent of undocumented immigration joined President Donald Trump for a roundtable conversation at the White House Thursday.
Bristol County Sheriff Thomas Hodgson met with victims of violent crimes committed by undocumented immigrants.
"It was a very emotional and powerful meeting. We had a lot of families who had lost loved ones at the hands of illegals, who are illegal aliens; many have been deported and then come back," Hodgson said. "It was interesting to hear each story and to hear the frustration and the upset and the anger and the sadness around the fact that these lives lsot could have been preventable."
In-depth news coverage of the Greater Boston Area.
The sheriff praised two immigration bills being considered by Congress. One, known as "Kate's Law," would impose harsher minimum sentences for people who re-enter the U.S. after deportation.
"Shame on any Congress member who doesn't pass this law to help law enforcement to keep these people away from the communities and help us keep them safe," Hodgson said.
The other bill, targeting "sanctuary" cities and states, would result in the loss of federal grant money for places that do not cooperate with immigration officials.
According to Hodgson's office, Trump said during the meeting he would sign both bills if they crossed his desk.
Hodgson argued that the bills are not racist.
"The American people aren't stupid. The American people love Latinos as much as they love any other culture or ethnicity. Look, this is the rhetoric and the nonsense you see coming out of people who are supposed to come down here and focus on the issues, drill down and deal with the realities, not incite people by creating these sort of charges," Hodgson said. "When they don’t have a legit argument to support the position, they always go to race-bating and calling names and all of that ... and frankly, the American people are fed up with it, and that's why Donald Trump is the president of the United States today."