Washington state Department of Licensing stiffens against ICE


The Washington State Department of Licensing regularly shared information with immigration authorities that could aid in arrests and deportation. The Seattle Times first reported in January that DOL released photos and driver's license applications to federal immigration enforcement agencies up to 30 times per month. Washington state is one of the few that issues driver's licenses to UNDOCUMENTED PEOPLE.

Data released this week show that DOL received 865 requests from immigration-related agencies from May 2017 until now, though DOL spokeswoman Krista Carlson acknowledges that number could be an underestimation. Since January, DOL has changed how it handles requests from law enforcement to be more in line with an executive order signed in 2017 by Gov. Jay Inslee, aimed at restricting state agencies from aiding immigration officials.

DOL now forwards all immigration-related requests to the governor's office for review and requires a warrant before it will release information to immigration enforcement agencies, Carlson says. Since January, the DOL has denied 30 percent (47) of immigration-related requests and approved 67 percent of requests (104) to release information, DOL data show. The approved requests were tied to suspected crimes other than violations of immigration law, according to numbers provided by DOL.

DOL data show that it has given no records to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) from Jan. 11 until now — a significant difference from the previous months. Additionally, DOL will no longer ask applicants of driver's licenses or state ID cards for their place of birth and has created an Office of Community Engagement to educate the public about its new policies. Those who are concerned whether their information has been released to ICE can call 360-359-4454.

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About The Author

Mitch Ryals

Mitch covers cops, crime and courts for the Inlander. He moved to Spokane in 2015 from his hometown of St. Louis, and is a graduate of the University of Missouri. He likes bikes, beer and baseball. And coffee. He dislikes lemon candy, close-mindedness and liars. And temperatures below 40 degrees.