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Lycoming County Commissioners: Immigrant laborers here legally

Nicholas Meat LLC,/GOOGLE EARTH

With rumors of illegal immigrants flooding the county, the Lycoming County Commissioners went on record at their meeting — the rumors are untrue.

The commissioners came to that conclusion after attending a meeting of business owners, government officials and members of a local patriot group this week at Jersey Shore. Also at the meeting were representatives from a staffing agency that deals with placing immigrant workers at local businesses.

“We went up there because of the rumors going on — to check out what the status was,” Commissioner Scott Metzger said.

“These businesses are doing it appropriately, going by the law. They’re going through staffing agencies, documents are checked. You have two businesses that are doing this legally,” he stated. “The rumors are unjustified. It needs to cease. It doesn’t help anybody.”

The meeting was sparked by accounts claiming that airplanes are bringing people in from the border by the current administration and that those people are being brought by bus to work at area businesses. A meat-packing plant at Loganton was supposedly then hiring these illegal immigrants.

“As far as we can tell, that is not the case,” said Commissioner Rick Mirabito said following the commissioners’ meeting Tuesday. He added that a staffing agency with offices in Lock Haven handles the hiring of these employees, which he said do come from different places.

“We talked to the staffing agencies,” said Commissioner Tony Mussare. “These gentlemen are highly intelligent. They were Haitian.”

“It was interesting the procedure in which these companies hire these people. The paperwork that’s necessary. These are immigrants that come across legally. They’re looking for the American dream and they’re workers,” Mussare said.

Also addressed at the meeting was that one of the biggest challenge facing the county is the loss of population. It was noted that in the last census, the county’s population declined by 1.8 percent.

“One of the challenges we face is the population declining plus the aging population in our county,” Mirabito said.

“What we’re trying to talk about is getting the public to understand that the face of the community may change from what we’ve seen in terms of race and ethnicity and what people are more used to seeing over the years,” Mirabito said.

Some of the workers at Nicholas Meat LLC, Loganton have been on the job for five years, living at hotels.

“How do we get them to buy house in the community and move into the community in that way, so that they’re not staying at a hotel?” Mirabito said was one question that came up at the meeting.

“When people move to buy houses, it stimulates our housing market,” he said.

“We have to find a way as a community to understand that just because people have a different color or a different ethnicity or a different accent or whatever, that doesn’t mean that they’re not hard-working good people,” he added.

Speaking specifically to the meat-packing plant, Mirabito stated that the real issue is if they can’t get workers, then eventually they will leave the community.

“And that impacts all of us,” Mirabito said.

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