Wyoming ICE detention center moves forward despite opposition

WYOMING – The on-again, off-again immigration detention center proposed for southwestern Wyoming appears to be on again and moving forward despite continued opposition.

US Immigration and Customs Enforcement is moving ahead with its plans to build a new 500 to 600-bed privately-owned detention center outside Evanston, Wyoming in Uinta County. Starting July 17, ICE will begin accepting proposals to build the detention center that would serve its Utah-based operations. Management & Training Corporation (MTC), the third-largest private prison corporation in the United States, has expressed interest in building the facility.

With that, the #WyoSayNo campaign is kicking back into full gear, working to inform communities and elected leaders about the negative impact the immigration prison would have on Wyoming and its families if it is built in Uinta County. An immigration prison would bring ICE closer to Wyoming’s Latino communities and will expand the ability to detain immigrants in Wyoming, #WyoSayNo leaders claim.

“Private prison companies like MTC are deliberately creating a climate of fear and uncertainty, inciting panic among immigrant communities,” said Antonio Serrano, Chairman of Juntos and one of the leaders of the #WyoSayNo campaign. “Their tactics should not be tolerated and are not welcome in Wyoming.”

Liability to the state is among chief concerns. According to opponents of the detention center, private prison companies like MTC profit on a system of immigrant detention which presents increased liability for the state given that there have been dozens of deaths under ICE custody at the border, a reality that points to a troubling trend within detention centers and holding facilities.

“There is much talk about economic development and how a facility like this could help our community grow, but considering a detention center, a prison, is a dangerous route to that end,” said Saundra Meyer, an Evanston resident and #WyoSayNo supporter. “MTC, the company looking to build in Evanston, has not kept the promises it has made to other communities. Remember, MTC is a for-profit company–not for what they can do for the community. Before a decision is made, Evanston officials need to do research and determine what our community wants to be in the future.”

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