DOL takes immediate steps to stop disclosure of information to federal immigration authorities


OLYMPIA—The Washington State Department of Licensing is taking immediate action to ensure the agency is safeguarding personal information that can be used to determine immigration status and to uphold the intent of Governor Inslee’s Executive Order 17-01, Reaffirming Washington’s Commitment to Tolerance, Diversity, and Inclusiveness.

 “We support the Executive Order, but failed to meet the Governor’s intent regarding the protection of this type of information,” DOL Director Pat Kohler said. “We are sorry that our work did not align with our state’s values.

“Our agency did not clearly communicate the nature of all federal law enforcement requests to the Governor’s Office and the Legislature. Nor did we seek clarification about how to handle information requested by agencies seeking records related to United States Code (USCs) that contain both criminal and civil immigration violations.

“We are completely focused on correcting our processes and rebuilding trust with all Washington residents,” Kohler said. “We are building a comprehensive plan to ensure greater accountability within the agency.”

In consultation with the Governor’s Office and the Office of the Attorney General, DOL announced the following steps:

  • Stopping the release of all records to federal immigration authorities. Moving forward, records will not be released to these entities without a court order signed by a federal judge or magistrate, or under the requirement of state or federal law.
  • Conducting a thorough review of agency processes and computer systems with the Governor’s Office and the Office of the Attorney General.
  • Using emergency rulemaking to end the collection of information that isn’t mandated and could be misused, such as place of birth information gathered during the driver license or ID card application process. Once the emergency rulemaking process begins, information can be found here: http://www.dol.wa.gov/about/driversrules.html.
  • Accepting the resignation of DOL Deputy Director Jeff DeVere’s. DeVere was the executive sponsor overseeing compliance with Executive Order 17-01.
  • Hiring of a community liaison officer to work with community groups to ensure DOL processes, procedures and services meet the needs of all Washington residents. This person, who will report to the agency director, will provide oversight and accountability and coordinate outreach and education to individuals and stakeholder groups.
  • Establishing a new hotline to answer customer concerns and any questions they may have about this issue.
  • Educating DOL staff on all changes made to policies and procedures related to the release of information to law enforcement and ensure all requests are evaluated properly. We also will make sure all staff understand the Governor’s Executive Order and the importance of diversity, tolerance and inclusion.

“I am working closely with stakeholder groups to improve our processes and provide more transparency going forward,” Kohler said.  Washington residents can submit questions or comments to Director Kohler at DOLDirector@dol.wa.gov.

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5 Responses to DOL takes immediate steps to stop disclosure of information to federal immigration authorities

  1. Not a sheep says:

    Well now I have a few words get out of the USA.and No More free rides as my dad said years ago watch there taking your rights away passing laws while your sleeping you all are like sheep being lead off a cliff. Looking good people I’m not going to be here long enough to see you every one go over that cliff thank God

  2. Victoria says:

    To the Department of Licensing: Acting illegally is not something to be proud of, but something to be avoided.

    I hope that DOL Deputy Director Jeff DeVer’s resignation was voluntary upon learning that DOL intends to act against the interests of legal citizens of this state. Illegal immigrants are criminals and should be treated as such. It is outrageous that a state agency would allow criminals to continue breaking the law. As a state in the United States of America, we are required to follow federal laws. DOL has now become a criminal agency.

  3. Jim Breidenbach says:

    It is irresponsible of our state government to conspiratorially and illegally hinder federal agents investigation of the legal status of those living in our country/state. What part of “illegal alien” does our governor and his collaborators not recognize as contrary to the rule of law our country is founded and chosen to abide. Anarchy is not the way our state and country should follow, but the cancer of political correctness, feel-good liberalism and discounted personal accountability seems to be what our current governor chooses to encourage.
    I am deeply ashamed to be recognized as a Washington State citizen.

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