GEO Group plans to present ICE detention center permit to city council after McFarland planning commission vote fails

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McFARLAND, Calif. (KGET) —  The GEO Group announced Wednesday it still plans to present its ICE detention center permit to city council. Tuesday night, the McFarland planning commission voted on whether to turn two prisons into ICE detention centers. Ultimately the motion failed, two to two, with one commissioner absent, but the group plans to appeal the decision.

“We’re disappointed the Planning Commission vote ended in a tie and therefore was not able to make a positive recommendation to the City Council,” the GEO Group’s official statement read. “We look forward to presenting to the City Council on the important benefits of keeping the Central Valley and Golden State facilities open. GEO is proud to be a long standing member of the McFarland community, and we are hopeful to be able to continue to contribute to the City’s growth by keeping over 300 high paying jobs in the area.”

The GEO Group is the second-largest employer in McFarland. The company already operates Mesa Verde detention center in Bakersfield with 400 beds, and it wanted to add more than a thousand in McFarland.

Hundreds of protesters flooded McFarland City Hall Tuesday to rally both for and against the plan.

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