Legal analyst breaks down lawsuit against Clearfield Commissioners, ICE detention center

Local News

CLEARFIELD COUNTY, Pa. (WTAJ) — Clearfield County Commissioners are facing a lawsuit from the American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania (ALCUPA) after approving an immigration detention center to open in Philipsburg.

According to the suit filed by two residents and an immigrant’s rights group, commissioners failed to give public notice that the detention center was being discussed at the meeting.

“I don’t believe there was any issue with people knowing there was a meeting on September 28, but the agenda was not published,” said Attorney Tony Deboef, WTAJ’s legal analyst.

The Freedom of Information Act and Sunshine Act legally require agendas to be posted for public meetings.

“They have to announce when they’re having meetings so that the public can attend and so nothings being done, sort of, I guess, with no one looking or behind closed doors,” said Deboef.

Deboef said the commissioners could face criminal fines and convictions for violating the acts, or the commissioners could void the contract with the private prison and start the process over with room for public comment.

“Just taking what we know, it would appear that perhaps the Clearfield Commissioners did make a mistake in not publishing the agenda for the September 28 meeting,” said Deboef. “We’ll have to see how they respond.”

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