LAFAYETTE, La. (KLFY) — “If it’s Natchez, and Baton Rouge, and Shreveport, then I suspect it is also Monroe and Lafayette, et cetera,” U.S. Senator for Louisiana Bill Cassidy said in a reporter conference call this week.
The Republican senator said so after learning of asylum seekers being relocated in Baton Rouge, Shreveport, and Monroe. News 10 reached out to Immigrant Customs Enforcement (ICE) to seek answers.
When asked Wednesday morning about the possibility of immigrants being possibly dropped off inside Lafayette, the ICE Public Affairs Office responded by email within hours that they hope to have a response shortly.
At this time, we still waiting for an answer from ICE, but Senator Cassidy had a lot to say on the issue before presenting the matter on the Senate floor.
Sunday, U.S. Senator Bill Cassidy learned of about 80 Haitian immigrants released from ICE custody in Shreveport. Other local news sources have reported similar sightings in Monroe and Natchez. He’s told some folks are “dropped off without family, money, contacts, you name it.”
“It happened with little or no notice to state and local officials,” Cassidy stated. It’s almost as if they are sweeping people under the rug, but the crisis continues to worsen.”
According to U.S. Customs and Border Protection, more people have crossed the Southern border this year, than in 2018 and 2020 combined. Most people have been encountered in the Rio-Grande Valley, which is up 461% over last year.
According to TRAC (Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse) of Syracuse University, Louisiana housed 2,347 people in immigration detention on July 8. That’s the second-most in any state, only behind Texas.
Louisiana Advocates for Immigrants in Detention picks people up and helps them transition when they are released.
“They didn’t come here because they thought it would be fun. They came here cause they needed to get out of a bad situation,” expressed Nell Hahn, a Lafayette resident and volunteer with LA-AID.
She says sometimes those released from Basile, Pine Prairie, and Oberlin are taxied to transportation hubs like Lafayette looking for a way out of Louisiana. She says there are better alternatives to incarcerated those that travel to the border and agrees ICE needs to communicate more.
“We’re happy they’re getting out, but gosh, there needs to be some coordination and some services, so when they get out, they get on their way in an orderly way,” Hahn stated.
“The most I can surmise is that the facilities are overflowing, and they’ve gotten so full that ICE doesn’t have the capacity, and they are being told to release people,” Cassidy continued. “That is wrong for the community, it’s wrong for controlling the border, frankly it’s wrong for the immigrant.”
The last time over one million illegal migrants were encountered at the Southern border was 15 years ago. If the number continues stable or grows for three more months, it’s possible the all-time fiscal year record for illegal border crossings set in 1986 could be broken.
“We need to get things under control, and what they are doing right now, you couldn’t ask for a worse situation.”
When ICE answers our email with a statement, you’ll see it first on KLFY and KLFY.com