McFARLAND, Calif. (KGET) — The American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California filed a lawsuit against the city of McFarland and its council Monday night. The ACLU is challenging the approval of a new ICE detention center.

Back in April, the McFarland City Council agreed to convert two prisons in McFarland into a detention center. 

This decision was met with mass protests and opposition. Protestors believe the facility would lead to family separations and racial profiling. Those in support of the facility say it will bring jobs to McFarland. The ACLU says the council illegally restricted public participation.

“The Brown Act requires that all members of the public be able to attend these meetings, McFarland limited that meeting to 100 participants,” said Julia Gomez, the ACLU SoCal Staff Attorney. “The second big issue with the meeting – under the Brown Act if you need interpretation services, the city’s required to give the people twice the allotted time.”

ACLU demands an annulment of the City Council decisions regarding the detention center.

17 News also reached out to community development director Maria Lara. She declined to comment because the litigation is active.

The lawsuit is now in the Kern County Superior Court.