Hirsch Coliseum considered for housing young immigrants

Published: Jul. 18, 2014 at 1:00 AM CDT|Updated: Aug. 1, 2014 at 1:03 AM CDT
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SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA) - Shreveport is being considered as one of many host cities to help house tens of thousands of unaccompanied young children from Central America flooding over America's borders.

KSLA News 12 has learned the International Association of Fairs and Expos contacted Shreveport's iconic Hirsch Coliseum at the Louisiana State Fairgrounds to see if it could be used as temporary housing.

"Even if we could serve in that capacity right now, let's say it happened tomorrow, we'd only be able to serve for the month of August and maybe halfway into September," said Chris Giordano, general manager of the Louisiana State Fair.

"I was told that someone from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security would be contacting me. Well, it's a month and a half later and they have not contacted me," he said. "So, I'm assuming that our facility was not needed."

Giordano says while he's been waiting for a phone call from Homeland Security, on the federal level, he called IAFE back. The association hasn't heard back from Homeland Security either.

The idea of housing immigrants anywhere in Louisiana does not sit well with U.S. Senator David Vitter.

"It doesn't fit in for Louisiana at all.  It's outrageous," Vitter said. "We need to solve the problem.  The President needs to detain and deport these illegals, not simply move them to Louisiana or anywhere else and house them indefinitely."

Vitter says that's why he wrote to Homeland Security and asked detailed questions about any plans they had involving Louisiana.

"I think it's outrageous that we're housing these folks on a long-term basis, in some cases releasing them into society," he said.

The Hirsch is rented out at the end of September for a family motor coach association rally. Right after that, it will be gearing up for the Louisiana State Fair.

There is no definite word on if, how many and when the children would be coming.

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