Ruling may cost parish $4,000 a year

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, July 4, 2001

FERRIDAY, La. – A recent Supreme Court decision regarding Immigration and Naturalization Service prisoners could mean a loss of more than $4,000 a year for the Concordia Parish Sheriff’s Office, according to an INS official.

Some countries, mainly Cuba and southeast Asian countries, do not have repatriation agreements with the United States. That means INS prisoners from those countries cannot be sent back, said Sarah Mouw, community relations officer for the INS’ New Orleans office.

But the Supreme Court ruled Thursday that immigrants who have served their criminal sentences cannot be indefinitely detained while the INS tries to deport them.

The Concordia Parish Correctional Facility, which is run by the Sheriff’s Office, housed 100 INS prisoners at last count, and all of those prisoners have already served their criminal sentences, Mouw said.

In Louisiana, about 25 parishes now have INS detainees in custody, and they receive about $46 a day per prisoner for holding such prisoners. By comparison, parishes are paid only $23 a day to house state prisoners.

But with the current number of INS prisoners, the parish would lose $4,094 if all 89 Cuban and Vietnamese detainees were released.

Sheriff Randy Maxwell said Friday he did not know how much the Supreme Court decision would affect his office or how or when the INS prisoners would be released.

&uot;That’s strictly up to the INS,&uot; he said.

The INS expects within the next week to figure out a timetable and procedure for the prisoners’ release. &uot;We don’t have all the details of when or how they’ll be released yet,&uot; Mouw said.

In any cases, the prisoners will not simply be released to fend for themselves, according to Mouw. &uot;There will be some kind of follow-up with them after they are released,&uot;&160;she said.