SEATTLE — The Washington Department of Licensing has been giving residents’ personal information to federal immigration authorities, information used to arrest and deport people, the Seattle Times reported Thursday.
Gov. Jay Inslee ordered the practice halted immediately and his spokeswoman told the newspaper that Inslee hadn’t been aware of the extent of the information sharing.
On Thursday night, Inslee told Q13 News he was still looking into the report.
Washington's Department of Licensing is among a minority of such agencies around the country to allow people living in the country without legal permission to get driver's licenses.
The newspaper said the licensing department has regularly -- 20 to 30 times a month -- been providing Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) with photos and driver's license applications. It said department spokesman Brad Benfield confirmed the information.
The Times said that when DOL gives information to ICE, it redacts a field on the driver's license application showing a Social Security number, but leaves visible fields showing where someone was born and the ID used (passports or other documents) -- information that could be used as evidence of a foreign-born person who possibly could be in the country illegally.
The Times noted DOL's practices seemingly contradict Inslee's 2017 executive order that Washington remains a state that "doesn't utilize state employees as agents of the federal immigration services."