Judge rules on immigration center location
Inmate recently objected to ruling, case transferred to Pittsburgh
A federal judge in Harrisburg has ruled that the Moshannon Valley Immigration Processing Center is located in Clearfield County, not Centre County as proclaimed by one of the inmates.
The issue of where the facility is located has implications for inmate Akeem Ricky Miller, who recently filed a petition objecting to an adverse ruling by Immigration Judge Steve Mannion of Philadelphia.
Miller sued Mannion, the U.S. Attorney General, the Department of Homeland Security and the warden of the Moshannon Valley Facility seeking a temporary order to stay his removal from the United States.
His petition was placed under seal when it was filed in the federal court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania. It is not available to the public.
The government however objected to his petition, noting that Miller had not exhausted all his options to challenge his placement in the detention center prior to filing a complaint with the U.S. district Court.
The U.S. attorney in Harrisburg Joseph J. Terz also pointed out that the federal court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania cannot hear the case because the Moshannon Valley facility is, in reality, located in Pennsylvania’s Western District.
Miller challenged that idea, pointing out the address of the facility is 555 Geo Drive, Philipsburg.
He stated Philipsburg is a community in Centre County, which is located in the Middle District of Pennsylvania.
The issue was initially reviewed by Magistrate Judge Susan E. Schwab, who disagreed.
In a nine-page ruling she argued that while the processing center may have a Philipsburg, Center County, address, she determined that the facility is located in Decatur Township, Clearfield Township.
She recommended that Miller’s Habeas Corpus petition be transferred to the Western District of Pennsylvania.
U.S. District Judge Robert D. Mariani on Tuesday transferred Miller’s case to the U.S. District Court in Johnstown.
The Miller petition has been assigned to Magistrate Judge Cynthia Reed Eddy in Pittsburgh.
In making her determination that the facility is located in the western part of the state, she cited many news articles and court cases which referred to the location of the processing center as being in Clearfield County.
Miller in his petition referred to the facility as the Moshannon Valley Correctional Center, but Schwab explained that Moshannon Valley is no longer a private prison that once contracted with the U.S. Bureau of Prisons to house federal prisoners.
It has been “repurposed,” Schwab stated, as an immigration detention center that is privately owned but is operated as a secure immigration processing center.