The Washington State Department of Licensing released records to reporters today showing that the state responded to, and furnished records responsive to, a request from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) about immigration activist Maru Mora Villalpando. On December 7, a DOL employee e-mailed ICE agent Timothy Black with Mora Villalpando's driver's license and background information. Two weeks later, Mora Villalpando, a longtime activist advocating for the rights of immigrant detainees in the Northwest Detention Center, received a deportation notice.
Mora Villalpando held a rally in front of the DOL's office in Bellingham Thursday, urging the director of the department to resign.
On Wednesday night, Mora Villalpando told The Stranger she had received a phone call from the DOL notifying her that it would be releasing records about her to the Associated Press and Angelina Godoy, a University of Washington human rights professor Mora Villalpando had been working with. Among those records, she was told, was e-mail correspondence with ICE.
Mora Villalpando said she told the DOL, "It would be nice if you called me when ICE requested my records."
"This means that we are not safe in this state," Mora Villalpando said. "It means that the state agencies that were told not to collaborate with ICE were doing so and they're impacting our lives. I'm also wondering how many other people are going through what we're going through. It also makes me wonder about the rest of the state agencies."
On January 11, the Seattle Times reported that the DOL has been giving ICE information on Washington residents 20 to 30 times a month. As the Times noted, these actions appeared to defy an executive order from Inslee directing state employees not to act as ICE agents. After the Seattle Times report, Inslee directed the DOL to stop turning over residents' information to immigration officials.
In response to the news about Mora Villalpando's information leak, a spokesperson for Inslee said the governor had "spoken directly with ICE officials to express his extreme frustration and anger about their tactics. He made it clear that he wanted these discriminatory federal deportation efforts to stop."
Mora Villalpando said she met Governor Jay Inslee on February 5 during a lobbying day and told him that she wanted reparations for what the DOL did to undocumented immigrants.
"If they want legal representation, the state should pay for that," Mora Villalpando said. "If they lost wages or housing, the state should pay for that."
Mora Villalpando said that since receiving the deportation notice, both she and her daughter have gotten sick with a winter bug, but she doesn't have insurance and can't afford to pay for her daughter's insurance. Still, she said she's been receiving plenty of support from her community—and wonders about families reported to ICE by the DOL who don't have that luxury.