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State Dept. of Licensing details cooperation with federal immigration officials

SEATTLE (AP) — The Washington Department of Licensing has released details about how often it provided information to immigration authorities in the months before it changed its procedures for doing so.

The Seattle Times reports that the agency responded to federal requests concerning about 900 people in the months before the newspaper revealed the practice in January. At least some of those people wound up in deportation proceedings.

At the time, the agency routinely handed over information on residents’ driver’s-license applications just for the asking. That appeared to run counter to promises from Gov. Jay Inslee that the state employees would not assist U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Following the newspaper’s story, the agency began requiring court orders before releasing information related to immigration enforcement. Since then, the state says it has received far fewer requests, and it’s denied 30 percent of those.

When it does release the information, it’s because the people are under investigation for crimes that were not solely immigration-related, such as violent offenses, it says.