ACLU drops lawsuit against Clearfield County Commissioners

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CLEARFIELD COUNTY, Pa. (WTAJ) – A lawsuit against Clearfield County Commissioners have been dropped following a public meeting earlier this month regarding an ICE facility set to open in the county.

The lawsuit was filed by the American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania on behalf of a local resident Timothy Smith for violating the Sunshine Act by not providing 24 hours of public notice prior to approving two contracts with the GEO Group, and Immigration Customs Enforcement to open an ICE detention center at the Moshannon Valley Correctional Facility.

“It didn’t have a public announcement, it didn’t provide that full opportunity for notification. So in order to correct this, we’re going to ask you to comply with that, and that was one of the suggested remedies” said Timothy Smith, the resident who brought forth a lawsuit against Clearfield County.

County commissioners held a special meeting earlier this month in response to the lawsuit, and provided residents with 24 hours notice, and allowed public comment.

The ACLU found that meeting and notice to be sufficient enough to drop the case, and said in a statement to WTAJ:

“We decided to dismiss the case after the county commissioners held a second meeting to consider the contracts. That meeting was properly announced in advance and gave the public a chance to weigh in. But that does not change the reality that immigration detention is incredibly problematic and dehumanizing and that such a big decision should have involved robust community engagement. The Biden administration, Clearfield County, and GEO Group are engaged in systematic separation of families and breaking apart of communities. People with pending immigration cases should be home with their loved ones while their cases proceed.”

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