Media Contact

Janna Farley,

January 21, 2020

As Uinta County Commissioners move forward with their plan to contract with a private company to construct and operate an immigration detention facility in the county, the ACLU of Wyoming is asking the state’s five elected officials to weigh in on the legality of the plan.

Since the possibility of construction was first announced, there’s been uncertainty regarding whether the project would trigger a Wyoming statute that prohibits a local government from entering into a contract to construct or operate a private incarceration facility in the state without the approval the governor, the secretary of state, the state treasurer, the state auditor, and the superintendent of public instruction.

Back in 2018, the Attorney General’s office said the proposed construction did not require approval from these officials because an immigration detention center does not qualify as a private incarceration facility. But the ACLU of Wyoming disagrees and is formally asking Wyoming’s five state elected officials to weigh in on the matter.

The ACLU of Wyoming believes that the laws in question not only apply to the proposed detention facility, but are an invaluable tool to ensure that all detainees held in a private facility are treated with respect and dignity.

A copy of the letter the ACLU sent to the state’s five elected officials, which highlights both the common-sense need for these laws as well as a legal analysis of why the legislature clearly intended them to apply to privately run immigration detention facilities, can be found here.

About the ACLU of Wyoming

The American Civil Liberties Union of Wyoming is a non-partisan, nonprofit organization dedicated to the preservation and enhancement of civil liberties and civil rights. The ACLU of Wyoming is part of a three-state chapter that also includes North Dakota and South Dakota. The team in Wyoming is supported by staff in those states.

The ACLU believes freedoms of press, speech, assembly, and religion, and the rights to due process, equal protection and privacy, are fundamental to a free people.  In addition, the ACLU seeks to advance constitutional protections for groups traditionally denied their rights, including people of color, women, and the LGBT communities. The ACLU of Wyoming carries out its work through selective litigation, lobbying at the state and local level, and through public education and awareness of what the Bill of Rights means for the people of Wyoming.