Private Prison Firm Abandons Plan to Build ICE Facility Near Evanston
A private prison company has withdrawn its offer to build a facility in southwestern Wyoming to house those in custody of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the company and Unita County officials announced Wednesday.
The Nashville-based CoreCivic notified the Unita County Commission of its intention to not build what would have been Wyoming's first private jail.
The proposed 150,000-square-foot detention center surrounded by 16-foot-high-razor-wire-topped fences would be able to house up to 600 immigrants detained by the U.S. Immigrations, Customs Enforcement from Nevada Utah, Idaho and Montana, according to WyoFile reporter Andrew Graham.
Besides housing, a chapel and a library, it would have a 3,000-square-foot courthouse where federal immigrations judges would decide the fate of the detainees, Graham wrote.
CoreCivic representatives said it was an ethical company filling a government need in a humane and safe way, but its records showed an interest of putting its earnings over the people it housed, Graham wrote.
The center would have employed about 250 people.
The proposed detention center garnered stiff opposition from the Catholic Diocese of Cheyenne to the American Civil Liberties Union to some Evanston-area residents.
In August, Bishop Steven Biegler condemned the proposed facility in an editorial published in Wyofile: "I invite all people of good will to join me in seeking a more just and morally responsible manner to treat our fellow human beings. Just as we seek to protect the lives of innocent unborn children, so must we treat asylum seekers and migrants as human beings created in the image and likeness of God. If we do not, then we are eroding the respect for all human life. Then we are being anti-life."
CoreCivic, in its letter to the Uinta County Commissioners did not mention such opposition when it made its decision.
"After participating in the process to date in good faith, there were ultimately a number of factors that made it difficult for us to consider proceeding," according to CoreCivic. "We appreciate the support we’ve received from Evanston, Uinta County and the surrounding community," according to a news release from CoreCivic."
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