Readers may have heard about the “Badges & Angels Rally” held in Washington, DC, on September 25, which was organized by Bristol County Sheriff Thomas Hodgson. Almost 200 sheriffs met with President Trump to express their support for his dangerous and inhumane immigration policies. Along with Hodgson was our own Barnstable County Sheriff James Cummings. Travel costs for 191 sheriffs, including Hodgson [I’m not sure about Cummings], were paid by an organization called FAIR, the Federation for American Immigration Reform, whose national board of advisors includes Sheriff Hodgson.
What is FAIR? According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, FAIR is a US government lobbying group whose members include white nationalists, white supremacists, eugenics proponents, and outright haters, many with links to white supremacist organizations. According to the SPLC, “[FAIR’s] founder James Tanton [now deceased] has expressed his wish that America remains a majority white population, a goal to be achieved…by limiting the number of nonwhites who enter the country.” FAIR promotes anti-immigration laws at national, state and local levels, and began courting local sheriffs and police departments in the early 2000s, urging them to implement anti-immigrant policies, programs and rhetoric. Members reject the 14th Amendment and advocate for an end to birthright citizenship.
That sheriffs Hodgson and Cummings have close ties to FAIR and other racist organizations should concern all of us. These organizations spew hateful rhetoric and condone speech and conduct that violates human rights, undermines civil discourse, and promotes unlawful policies and behavior, including treating refugees and asylum-seekers with disdain and violence, separating children from parents, and otherwise violating US and international laws, international treaties, and conventions pertaining to asylum-seekers and refugees.
I urge fellow citizens to call Barnstable County Sheriff Cummings and tell him that his support for individuals and organizations that spew hate, racism and white supremacy is unacceptable, and that he should publicly disavow himself from FAIR and other white supremacist, racist, and white nationalist organizations immediately. If he does not do so, Sheriff Cummings should resign from his post. Anyone who embraces the sentiments expressed by Sheriff Hodgson and FAIR cannot conduct the business of policing our community fairly or justly. Sheriff Cummings is, after all, a public law enforcement official, who has taken an oath to protect the rights and liberties of everyone who resides in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.