News broke on Thursday that the Washington State Department of Licensing (DOL) has been sharing information with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) after being directed not to do so by an executive order issued by Gov. Jay Inslee in 2017. Senate Democrats, led by Sen. Rebecca Saldaña, D-Seattle, released the following statement in response:

“Yesterday, our worst fears were confirmed when we discovered the DOL has been sharing personal, identifying information about individuals with ICE agents—information that has been used to arrest and deport members of our Washington family.

“Gov. Inslee’s directive sent a clear message and we stand with him: all people residing in Washington state deserve to feel safe. We strongly condemn the practices of the Department of Licensing whose cooperation with ICE has hurt Washington families and violated the public’s trust.

“The targeted individuals are our family members, our friends, and our neighbors. They are people who have bravely hoped to build a new life in Washington. The only “crime” these people have committed is they were unable to navigate a broken and failing immigration system.

“We are concerned that this will force people back into the shadows. When people aren’t comfortable utilizing state services, calling law enforcement or obtaining a driver’s license, it makes the entire state less safe.

“At a time when we see the values of our nation being tested, we must stand united. We must remember that we all deserve a life of security. The foundation of our governmental institutions is based on mutual respect and trust with the people we serve.

“Washington has always been a state that opens its doors to immigrants and new Americans. Together, we have worked to make Washington a strong, resilient, and inclusive state; a state where every person is guaranteed access to justice and opportunity.

“We will support the intent of Gov. Inslee’s order by introducing legislation to implement that directive.

“To our immigrant brothers and sisters, we see you. We stand with you.

“We will work to preserve the privacy and dignity that every resident of Washington deserves.”