Gov. Jay Inslee issued the following statement on Monday about the state Department of Licensing policy changes to protect personal information of immigrants and refugees:
“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.”