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WA Agency Shared Immigrant Activist's Info with ICE

Maru Mora-Villalpando says she is being targeted for deportation because of her political activism. (Northwest Detention Center Resistance)
Maru Mora-Villalpando says she is being targeted for deportation because of her political activism. (Northwest Detention Center Resistance)
February 16, 2018

BELLINGHAM. Wash. – New documents show a Washington state agency shared the personal information of an undocumented immigrant rights activist with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, which used it to begin her deportation.

Upon request, the Department of Licensing emailed the identification of Maru Mora-Villalpando to the ICE office in Seattle. ICE has said it is prioritizing people who pose a public safety threat, but Mora-Villalpando – the lead organizer with the Northwest Detention Center Resistance – doesn't have a criminal record.

She believes the agency has targeted her because of her political work.

"The fact that they reach out to Department of Licensing to find my address, that tells you in itself there's no real reason why they would have started a process against me, except because they know of my work,” she says. “I'm a Latina, fighting for not only Latinos, but every person that is in detention."

After it was revealed in January the Department of Licensing was sharing undocumented Washingtonians' information with ICE as often as 20 to 30 times a week, the state agency announced it would immediately stop doing so. ICE is targeting criminals, but says it won't exempt anyone in the country illegally from deportation.

Although Governor Jay Inslee has declared Washington a sanctuary state, Mora-Villalpando says he should spell out what that means for state agencies after what's happened with the Department of Licensing. She and the group Mijente are circulating a petition, urging Inslee to expand on his earlier sanctuary-state executive order.

"We also need the governor right now to establish another executive order that is clear, that has a specific process on what to do and not to do,” she says. “And that should have accountability for those that actually don't follow the executive order."

The petition asks the governor to contact those people whose information has been shared with ICE by the Department of Licensing as well.

Eric Tegethoff, Public News Service - WA