Last week, four undocumented immigrants were arrested in Jackson, and two in Cody by Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE. Since then, some Wyomingites are concerned that immigration raids are taking place, despite Teton County Sheriff’s Jim Whalen saying earlier this year that would not be happening.
Sheriff Whalen said these four individuals were detained in his jail, along with two others that were originally arrested in Park County. Whalen added the arrests were not the result of a raid, but were instead part of efforts made by ICE to find targeted individuals who either committed crimes or were prior deportees.
“The agreement essentially that local law enforcement—myself and Chief Todd Smith—have with Immigration and Customs Enforcement, they’re not going to come here and just do any type of taking people into custody based on their immigration status alone,” said Whalen.
According to data from ICE, arrests and deportations more than doubled in Wyoming and Colorado during President Trump’s first 100 days, compared to the same time last year. However, because ICE does not provide data by state, but by “area of responsibility,” it is unknown how many of those individuals were in Wyoming at the time.
Whalen said the number of recent arrests made by ICE in his area are not unusual.
“In fact, ICE has essentially routinely come to our area in looking for specific people and nothing has changed in that regard,” said Whalen. “They did it with the previous administration and they’re doing it with the current one. The same policies, as far as I know, have been adhered to by ICE.”
The American Civil Liberties Union of Wyoming’s Policy Director Sabrina King said the recent arrests made by ICE may not have technically been a raid. However, King said if those individuals with warrants are in the company of other undocumented immigrants at the time, those people may also be at risk of arrest, despite not having a criminal record.