Cowlitz County: Stop Caging Kids for Cash!

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Cowlitz County’s youth jail is one of only 3 jails in the nation incarcerating unaccompanied immigrant children for ICE without access to due process. As a new report from UW's Center for Human Rights Immigrant Family Separation in Northwest Juvenile Jails shows, ICE separates these children from their families on the East Coast, transports them thousands of miles to Cowlitz County, and refuses to transfer them to the one agency responsible for the reunification of immigrant families under federal law, the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR).

ICE claims this is because these particular children are “public safety or national security threats.” But when asked to see the legal documents underlying that determination, ICE and Cowlitz county refused to provide them – even going so far as to sue a UW professor just for inquiring.

This is another form of family separation, in which unproven allegations of criminality are used to inflict cruelty on children – and right here in Washington, Cowlitz county is making $170 per child, per night off the deal.

The same county has now released all U.S. citizen kids from custody over concerns about COVID-19; but the immigrant children remain incarcerated and exposed.

Call on Cowlitz County to immediately give the required 60 day notice to terminate their contract with ICE.