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ACLU files suit against City of McFarland over unlawful approval of ICE detention center

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Posted at 9:41 PM, Aug 25, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-26 00:41:32-04

KERN COUNTY, Calif. — The ACLU of Southern California announced on Monday that it has filed a lawsuit in Superior Court in Bakersfield against the City of McFarland and its city councel over the unlawful approval of a 1,400-bed ICE detention center.

The council violated the Brown Act by limiting the community's participation in its meetings.

“While technology can be a tool to ensure wider government transparency, in the middle of a pandemic McFarland used technology to do just the opposite,” said Julia Gomez, staff attorney at the ACLU SoCal. “A pandemic, however, does not void Californians’ right to attend, observe, and provide comment during the meetings of their public bodies, and we are confident that the court will agree.”

The suit was filed on behalf of three residents of Kern County, Stephanie Padilla of Bakersfield, and two residents of McFarland.

At the April 9 and April 23 meeting, the public was not given the proper access to participate in the proceedings, the lawsuit asks that the court declare the actions taken by the McFarland City Council during those meetings be null and void.

The full suit can be found here.