Mississippi ICE raid brings attention to Louisiana detention centers, immigration process

Photo Source: KNOE
Photo Source: KNOE(KALB)
Published: Aug. 9, 2019 at 6:16 PM CDT
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Nearly 700 undocumented immigrants were apprehended by ICE in a Mississippi factory on Wednesday.

300 were later released but, some of them were transported to the LaSalle ICE Processing Center in Jena.

It is bringing attention to Louisiana and its rapidly growing volume of detention centers.

"At the beginning of 2017, there were essentially two immigration detention centers here,” said Jeremy Jong with the Southern Poverty Law Center. “In Louisiana, in the past year, we're up to ten detention centers. ICE has said that they're trying to get the detained capacity in Louisiana to 15,000 by the end of the summer."

These facilities are quickly becoming Louisiana residents' next-door neighbors and so are their inhabitants.

So, the question is: What's the process like for those detained at a facility like this?

Even some immigration professionals will tell you it's a confusing and difficult process.

"The system itself is incredibly, incredibly, incredibly complicated,” said Jong. “The vast majority of folks are going through this without an attorney."

Alexandria attorney Christopher Kinnison broke down the process.

"There are two distinct possibilities for them being released,” said Kinnison. “The first possibility is ICE officers have the discretion of creating parole and often times that comes with a bond, ICE might set a bond. Assuming they don't have any significant criminal history, it should be 10,000 or less.

“If ICE chooses either not to parole the person or not to give them a bond at all, they have to file a bond motion with an immigration judge. And it usually takes at least a couple of weeks for the hearing to be heard. If the judge does not grant bond, they can appeal the decision to the Board of Immigration Appeals, but those are often extremely difficult to win. Without bond, they would be forced to try their case and request relief with the immigration court where they will be detained for anywhere from three to six months."

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