UW professor demanding info from ICE about children held in Cowlitz County

A University of Washington professor is fighting to learn more about a secretive site in Cowlitz County where U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement is holding undocumented immigrant children.

A search of ICE's website shows Washington state has two federal detention centers in SeaTac and Tacoma.

But the professor said what's not shown is a site in Longview -- one of three in the country where ICE is allowed to hold undocumented immigrant children for longer than 72 hours.

UW researcher Angelina Godoy said it’s not known who exactly is there -- and ICE wants to keep it that way -- after undocumented immigrant children were held there between 2013 and 2018. That includes one for nearly a year.

Godoy said ICE has does not want to provide her with additional details, and she’s worried about the undocumented immigrants not getting their day in court.

Godoy is named in a lawsuit as Cowlitz County asks a Washington judge to decide how to move forward in a public records case. She said ICE is trying to move it to federal court.

Godoy said the minors held in the facility “may have committed a chargeable offense,” according to information from ICE. She notes that different from being convicted.

“I'm not going to back down,” Godoy said.

ICE said it does not comment on pending lawsuits and KIRO 7 did not immediately hear back from Cowlitz County.

Godoy said she expects to learn in the next several weeks whether the case will go to a federal judge.

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