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East Texas sheriff has to release captured immigrants

Updated: May. 16, 2021 at 8:21 PM CDT
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FRANKLIN COUNTY, Texas (KLTV) - An East Texas sheriff has to release more than a dozen people suspected of being in the country illegally, after being advised that they can’t be charged with any crime.

Last month, a traffic stop on I-30 near Mount Vernon resulted in finding eighteen Guatemalan immigrants jammed into an SUV.

Franklin county sheriff Ricky Jones says he initially talked with ‘Homeland Security’ who told him to release them. Which he initially refused to do.

“To be released into Franklin county, and I’m not good with that,” Jones said.

After talking the county and district attorney, Jones was advised he had no state law that would allow him to hold them.

“They don’t meet the current criteria for deportation, yet they’ve been handled numerous times by border patrol,” he said.

Jones came up with his own way to release them. He let each immigrant contact a family member that was already in the U.S., and had them pick them up at the jail.

Jones says the one positive is that by releasing them to relatives, they have contacts and a way to keep tabs on those that were released.

Sheriff Jones says 3 of the immigrants he released are now in federal custody.

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