Sheriff: INS prisoners housed in parish will be released soon

Published 12:00 am Friday, July 27, 2001

VIDALIA, La. – Sheriff Randy Maxwell said Thursday that he still doesn’t know when Immigration and Naturalization Service prisoners will be released from the Concordia Parish Correctional Facility.

&uot;But he expects to find out within the next couple of weeks,&uot; said Kathleen Stevens, spokeswoman for the Concordia Parish Sheriff’s Office, which operates the facility.

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.

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And on Wednesday, INS officials told the Associated Press that about 1,200 immigrant criminals – including as many 510 in Louisiana – will be released from prison in the next few weeks.

But on Thursday Paige Rockett, spokeswoman for the INS regional office in&160;New Orleans, said it is not the agency’s policy to publicly state exactly how many prisoners will be released from a specific facility, or when.

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 under a Supreme Court ruling issued earlier this month, prisoners from such countries cannot be detained more than 90 days while the INS tries to deport them, Rockett said.

&uot;Probably the (law enforcement) people on the local level don’t know yet who’s going to meet those criteria,&uot; Rockett said. &uot;We’ll coordinate this (release) with local law enforcement. But we don’t comment on releases – there are privacy issues there.&uot;

The Concordia Parish Correctional Facility 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.