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Advocates Probe WA State Agency's Relationship to ICE in FOIA Request


Wednesday, January 17, 2018   

SEATTLE – Immigrant and human rights advocates announced Tuesday they're seeking more information on the collaboration between a Washington state agency and federal immigration authorities.

Freedom of Information Act requests have been filed to find out how much the Washington state Department of Licensing shared with Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Last week, The Seattle Times newspaper reported DOL handed over residents' personal information as many as 20 to 30 times a week.

Angelina Godoy, director of the University of Washington Center for Human Rights, filed the FOIA requests.

"Even our own elected officials know so little about the way that ICE is operating,” she states. “Therefore, how can they protect us and how can they design policies to make sure that human rights are upheld in our communities?

“We need to have greater transparency into what's going on."

Godoy has also requested records at the state level. She says DOL promises to fulfill her request by Feb. 13.

The state agency has announced it will immediately stop releasing records to federal immigration authorities.

At the press conference on Tuesday, it was also revealed that Maru Mora Villalpando, a prominent immigrants' rights activist and lead organizer for the Northwest Detention Center Resistance, has been served with a deportation notice.

She says immigrants' rights groups have known for years that DOL shared information with ICE and suspects that's how the agency got her address.

"There was no way for them to actually know about my whereabouts unless it was because of my public and political work against them,” she states. “So, to me, this is clear retaliation and I think they're trying to send a message to intimidate me and either slow down or stop the kind of work we've been doing so successfully against them."

Villalpando came to the United States in 1992 and has a 20-year-old daughter. She says several other well-known immigrants' rights activists have also been targeted by ICE recently.

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