The Seattle Times had reported that a Washington agency was handing over personal information to federal authorities 20 to 30 times a month that could be used to arrest and deport people. The policy was surprising to many, given that Washington is among a minority of states to allow undocumented immigrants to get driver’s licenses.
The Washington State Department of Licensing will no longer release personal information to federal immigration authorities without a court order, reports the Seattle Times. The move is among changes the agency is making in response to outrage over its policy of providing photos and driver’s-license applications to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) — information that can be used to help arrest and deport people. The Times reported last week that the agency was handing over personal information to federal authorities 20 to 30 times a month. The policy was surprising to many, given that Washington is among a minority of states to allow undocumented immigrants to get driver’s licenses.
The agency also said it would end its practice of collecting “information that isn’t mandated and could be misused,” specifically information on license applications about where a person was born. Deputy Director Jeff DeVere, who oversaw compliance with an executive order by Gov. Jay Inslee designed to prevent state employees from helping federal officials enforce immigration laws, resigned. The response to the licensing department’s policy of cooperating with ICE was swift and furious. The agency said it would review its processes and computer systems with the governor’s and attorney general’s offices; hire a community liaison to ensure DOL practices “meet the needs of all Washington residents,” and start a hotline to answer questions about the issue.