LOCAL NEWS

Gov. Inslee ‘angered’ over DOL providing private information to feds

Jan 15, 2018, 8:50 AM
(AP Photo/Rachel La Corte)...
(AP Photo/Rachel La Corte)
(AP Photo/Rachel La Corte)

The revelations that the Washington State Department of Licensing has been providing federal immigration authorities with private information to undocumented immigrants has “shaken and angered many communities,” Gov. Jay Inslee says.

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On Monday, Inslee issued a statement regarding DOL’s practices, which it says it is taking immediate action on.

The recent revelations about our state Department of Licensing’s failure to safeguard certain information from federal immigration officials has shaken and angered many communities. It has angered me. I issued an executive order nearly one year ago saying we would do all we could to protect Washington’s immigrants and refugees from blatantly discriminatory enforcement and deportation efforts. DOL fell short in meeting those expectations, and for that I apologize.

“Working with my office, DOL today announced important immediate actions that will ensure a stronger, clearer policy moving forward. DOL will not turn over personal information for immigration-related investigations to federal immigration authorities without a court order signed by a federal judge or magistrate or under the requirement of state or federal law. It is clear that under the Trump Administration, ICE and other federal immigration authorities are operating with very different – and destructive – intentions than in recent years. Our policies and practices must be adapted to reflect that terrible reality.

“My commitment to helping all Washington families thrive and be safe from discrimination is stronger than ever. Washington’s state agencies will not be used to help tear loving families apart or intimidate targeted populations. I will support legislative efforts to further support immigrant and refugee families, including HB 2308, proposed legislation that will help provide resources for at-risk Dreamers.

“I understand what’s at stake in getting this right, and the ramifications of what it means when we get it wrong. I expect every employee in every one of my state agencies to understand this as well. In this time of fear and uncertainty, our families are counting on us.

The department announced it will no longer release information to federal immigration authorities without a court order unless required by law. The DOL accepted the resignation of Deputy Director Jeff DeVere, who was responsible for overseeing the executive order signed by Gov. Inslee designed to prevent this very thing from happening.

The changes come after it was reported that the department was providing private information to federal authorities as often as 30 times a month, The Seattle Times reports.

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Gov. Inslee ‘angered’ over DOL providing private information to feds