Sheriff's office disputes ACLU claims
June 16, 2022
The Sweetwater County Sheriff’s Office is disputing a claim by the Wyoming ACLU that the office is among the most egregious on civil rights violations of undocumented immigrants at the Sweetwater County Detention Center.
According to a media release from the sheriff’s office, the office was falsely accused of ranking in the top 54 law enforcement agencies nationwide an ACLU report claims are the most egregious in civil rights violations. The actual list does not include the SCSO, or any Wyoming law enforcement agency.
The claim focuses on participation in the 287 (g) Program established through the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996. The program creates agreements between law enforcement agencies and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement that aim to reduce “the number of criminal offenders that are released back into the community without being screened for immigration violations,” according to the ICE website.
Commenting on the allegation made by ACLU Wyoming Communications Director Janna Farley, SCSO spokesperson Jason Mower claims a press release issued by Farley misrepresented findings of a report issued by the ACLU.
“Ms. Farley’s claim in her press release (June 8) is patently false,” Mower said. “It’s defamatory, and it’s a gross misrepresentation of the actual findings in the report.”
Mower said the sheriff’s office participates in the program, saying that participation isn’t a secret.
Sheriff John Grossnickle, also cited in the media release, said the office has had limited participation in the program for more than 12 years.
“It saves taxpayers’ money,” he said. “The extent of our involvement is to temporarily house undocumented immigrants who have been convicted of serious, felony-level crimes while they await transport to immigration centers in Utah and Colorado.”
Grossnickle also said he is unaware of any allegations regarding civil rights violations to an undocumented immigrant at the Sweetwater County Detention Center.