Cody Legislator Concerned Immigrant Resource Center In Jackson Could Lead To Voter Fraud

The presence of a new immigrant resource center in Jackson has state Rep. Rachel Rodriguez-Williams, R-Cody, concerned that the facility could assist immigrants with illegally voting and receiving welfare benefits.

Leo Wolfson

July 04, 20246 min read

Casa tlaxcala 7 3 24
(Courtesy Photo)

State Rep. Rachel Rodriguez-Williams, R-Cody, is concerned about a new facility set up to assist immigrants in Jackson and Teton County.

She questions whether the immigrant resource center known as “Casa Tlaxcala Jackson Hole” could potentially help people to vote illegally and receive welfare services.

On Tuesday, Rodriguez-Williams sent a letter to the organization, asking a number of questions about its operations. Rodriguez-Williams publicized the letter in a press release on Wednesday and said under President Joe Biden, “every state is a border state.”

“It’s concerning to me that a foreign government is able to operate an office that helps its citizens to gain a foothold in our own nation with seemingly no oversight,” Rodriguez-Williams told Cowboy State Daily.

What’s It For?

The facility was opened up about two months ago by the state government of Tlaxcala, Mexico, and its immigrant assistance office, which is specifically aimed at supporting Jackson families with roots in Tlaxcala by offering immigration help and reuniting families. The organization also has facilities in New York and California. 

“It’s good, we can help a lot of people,” said Cameron Restrepo, a manager with the organization.

According to local Jackson news site Buckrail, the center will also provide services including clarifying birth certificates, document reconciliation, and assistance with getting passports, visas and driver’s licenses. 

Rodriguez-Williams questions where the organization is getting its money from, what type of immigrants it will assist, and whether it will help immigrants register to vote or receive public benefits.

“I am troubled by the fact that a foreign government is spending unknown amounts of money in Wyoming to help potential illegal immigrants gain a foothold in our state, seemingly without any oversight,” she said.

Although Restrepo told Cowboy State Daily Casa Tlaxcala is not receiving any public money from any Wyoming governmental agency, she does not know “all of the details” about its funding sources.

Arne Jorgenson, Jackson vice mayor, also said he is not aware of any public money going toward Casa Tlaxcala.

“There’s nothing nefarious going on,” Jorgensen told Cowboy State Daily. “We’re a country of immigrants. We’re here to support our immigrant community.”


Rodriguez-Williams said in her press release she also found it “interesting” that the organization will assist both legal and illegal immigrants, which Restrepo confirmed to Cowboy State Daily.

But Restrepo said the organization will neither help people register to vote nor help them receive public benefits. She said it is only designed to help people of Mexican descent receive help and reconnect with family in their homeland.

“The immigrant community from Mexico is an important part of many communities throughout the state,” state Rep. Liz Storer, D-Jackson, told Cowboy State Daily. 

Around 30% of Teton County’s population is estimated to be Latino, most of which come from Tlaxcala, and have generations of family members in Jackson.

In a community like Jackson, well-known for its exorbitant housing prices, many immigrants work two to three jobs just to make ends’ meet, Storer said.

“It’s a recognition of a lot of the people from that community,” she said. “It’s a recognition of the challenges that exist when families immigrate. They have a close-knit community here, but they’re also the people that help make our community work.”


Rodriguez-Williams mentions Wyoming’s voter ID laws in her press release and argues that Casa Tlaxcala “may assist illegal immigrants” in obtaining the necessary identification in order to vote. 

Storer said this was an inappropriate conclusion.

“I think it would make more sense to reach out to the organization and communicate and learn about it before jumping to conclusions,” Storer said. “Understanding their needs and how they contribute to our community would be a better way to acknowledge they are here to help the community work.”

Further, Rodriguez-Williams said “are not required to meaningfully prove their residency or citizenship when registering to vote or casting a ballot” in Wyoming. 

Under state law, a voter must show a driver’s license or ID card from Wyoming or another state, a valid U.S. passport, or other forms of identification when they go to vote. 

In order to vote in the first place, a voter must be registered. To register, a voter must provide a driver’s license or an official federal identification card.

To get a Wyoming driver’s license, an applicant must provide:

  • A valid U.S. passport, state-certified birth certificate and proof of name change if needed, or other proof of identity
  • Proof of Social Security number 
  • Two current forms of proof of Wyoming residency

Non-U.S. citizens are allowed to get driver’s licenses in Wyoming but must provide adequate identification. Their driver’s licenses are specifically labeled as “non-resident” and not accepted as a form of identification for voting in Wyoming.

Although in most Wyoming counties the use of a fraudulent Social Security number wouldn’t be spotted until after someone voted, it would be eventually caught under the current processes in place. 

The topic of voter residency has become a somewhat contentious topic of late in Wyoming as Secretary of State Chuck Gray pushed for stricter proof of residency rules last winter, which eventually were vetoed down by Gov. Mark Gordon. 

“Governor Gordon is now enabling Biden and the most radical leftists in America who are trying to help illegal immigrants vote in our elections,” Gray said at the time.

Current Wyoming law does not require voters to prove their residency beyond a sworn affidavit if their ID doesn’t already show it.

Welfare Benefits?

Rodriguez-Williams also expressed concerns that Casa Tlaxcala could assist people in qualifying for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) and other welfare benefits. In order to qualify for TANF, a non-resident must be a legal or qualified alien. The same applies for food stamps, which are not eligible to undocumented non-citizens.

The center will also coordinate visits for family members over 65 living in Mexico with their families living in Jackson, a reunification program that has already been in place in Jackson through Tlaxcala’s immigrant assistance office. The agency pays for half of all travel costs for visits up to 30 days long. 

It will also provide resources for missing persons and repatriation services if a person dies in the U.S. and their family requests their body be returned to Tlaxcala. 

The Town of Jackson and Hueyotlipan, a city in Tlaxcala, officially became sister cities in April. There are a number of other nonprofit organizations in Jackson set up for the purpose of assisting migrants.

Leo Wolfson can be reached at

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Leo Wolfson

Politics and Government Reporter