INS prisoners remain in Concordia Parish prison

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, July 17, 2001

FERRIDAY, La. – Officials of the Immigration and Naturalization Service did not know as of Monday when or how INS prisoners being held in a Concordia Parish prison would be released.

&uot;We still haven’t been given any direction on that&uot; but might have a timetable and directions for the prisoners’ release as soon as early next week, said Paige Rockett, a spokesperson for the INS regional office in New Orleans.

According to INS figures, the parish could lose more than $4,000 a day if 89 INS prisoners are released under a decision recently handed down by the Supreme Court.

Warden Russell Butler of the Concordia Parish Correctional Facility confirmed that as of Monday, he has not gotten direction from INS on when or how to release the prisoners.

Sheriff Randy Maxwell could not be reached for comment Monday.

Some countries, mainly Cuba and southeast Asian countries, do not have repatriation agreements with the United States. That means prisoners from those countries cannot be sent back.

But the Supreme Court ruled Thursday that immigrants who have already 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, all of whom have served their criminal sentences, according to INS officials.

Of those, 85 are Cuban and four are Vietnamese – and neither of those counties has a repatriation agreement with the United States, said Sarah Mouw, community relations director for the INS regional office.

Louisiana parishes receive about $46 a day per prisoner for holding INS prisoners.

At that rate, Concordia Parish would lose about $4,094 a day if all 89 Cuban and Vietnamese detainees were released.