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Cassidy blasts ICE effort dropping off immigrants in La.; Detention center bus seen at BR transit center

2 months 6 days 7 hours ago Tuesday, July 20 2021 Jul 20, 2021 July 20, 2021 6:00 PM July 20, 2021 in News
Source: WBRZ

BATON ROUGE - Federal authorities are dropping off immigrants at transit centers across Louisiana as detention facilities release immigrants housed in locations throughout the state.

U.S. Senator Bill Cassidy released a statement after reports surfaced from northwest Louisiana, where ICE agents released 80 Haitian immigrants at a Shreveport bus terminal Thursday.

Friday, WBRZ also recorded video of a bus from LaSalle Corrections dropping off a bus load of people at the Greyhound terminal on Florida Boulevard.  In Baton Rouge, people exited the bus to others waiting, meeting them with hugs and signs written with the words “liberty” and “freedom.” 

An advocacy group for immigrants detained in Louisiana said it helped facilitate family connections between people bused to Baton Rouge from a detention center Friday.

LaSalle Corrections, according to receptionists who answered phones at two facilities contacted by WBRZ, provides services to detention facilities where immigrants are housed by the federal government.  No official representative from LaSalle Corrections could be reached Monday.  The company has an obscure network that limits the release of information.  

Federal immigration authorities have not provided information about the situation in Baton Rouge, although a spokesperson reached Monday morning said the agency was trying to gather information. 

In Shreveport, TV station KTBS reported similar drop-offs were occurring across Louisiana and Mississippi.

Advocates have complained the immigrants are released with little to no planning or assistance in leaving the country or reuniting with family members.

Cassidy ridiculed the situation.

“The White House cannot dump groups of Haitian refugees into Louisiana communities with nowhere to go, no photo ID, and no money. It appears Washington told ICE to just ‘send them somewhere,’ and apparently gave little to no notice to state and local officials. Horrible mismanagement,” Cassidy said in a statement.

He continued: “Do President Biden and Vice President Harris care about communities, immigrants, and controlling the border?”

ICE told the Shreveport TV station, “ICE’s enforcement and removal operations New Orleans field office is transporting individuals, in accordance with COVID-19 protocols, released from ICE custody to regional airports or bus stations. Individuals released from ICE custody have a transportation and a temporary support plan in place prior to release."

Advocates filed a civil rights complaint against ICE for its handling of immigrants when they're released.  The Louisiana Advocates for Immigrants in Detention said in a statement, ICE has "blatant violations of the ICE Performance-Based National Detention Standards 2011 regarding release protocols in Louisiana and Mississippi, causing serious harm to the well-being and safety of those being released.” 

In a statement, it also said "these violations include not allowing immigrants to contact their families prior to being released in order to make travel arrangements and not providing access to interpreters and translated materials to inform them of their post-release transportation options."

The bus seen in Baton Rouge was labeled as being from a LaSalle facility serving as an ICE processing and detention center, according to a federal website.

In Shreveport, city transit officials said the agency was expecting some 17 buses.  Churches there were assisting in logistics for immigrants dropped at the transit center.

In Shreveport alone, 400 immigrants from 42 countries have been dropped off by ICE since March.  The vast majority of immigrants who have traveled through Shreveport are asylum seekers, a spokesperson with Louisiana Advocates for Immigrants in Detention said Monday. 

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