Clearfield County residents voice concerns over ICE facility in meeting, Commissioners move forward with plans

Local News

CLEARFIELD COUNTY, Pa. (WTAJ)– Residents of Clearfield County gathered during a public meeting to voice their opinions of the Clearfield County Commissioners reaffirming their contracts to turn a privately-owned prison into an ICE detention facility.

A lawsuit was filed by the American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania last week stating that the commissioners did not give a 24 hours notice of the agenda of their meeting on Sept. 28th., therefore violating the Sunshine Act. The commissioners only gave 19 hours notice.

Since the lawsuit was filed last week the commissioners called a meeting and Clearfield County residents did voice their displeasures. Afterward, the commissioners reaffirmed their contracts with the GEO Group and ICE, therefore setting forward with opening the detention facility.

“I felt very confident that we made the correct decision on the 28th, and I have no problems at all with today’s action of reaffirming them,” Commissioner of Clearfield County John Sobel said. “I think it was the right thing to do, I think it is still the right thing to do.”

Since the commissioners allowed the public forum, the Plaintiffs in the lawsuit withdrew it earlier in the morning on Nov. 3. One of the Plaintiffs said how the process was not handled well.

“It shouldn’t have been handled so quickly, and without public input,” Clearfield County resident Tim Smith said. “And so today’s meeting I think provided us with input and allowed us to have other people come here and comment. But I think it should have been more exhausted, I think there should have been more time to think.”

Attorneys will be reviewing the events that unfolded and will reach a decision on whether or not to re-file a lawsuit. Commissioners say that plans with the dentition center are moving forward and could be open within the upcoming weeks.

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