The 150,000 Coloradans who have obtained a driver’s license or ID card since the passage of SB 251 complied with the rigorous process laid out by the law, sharing personal information with the state government in good faith. For some, their information was then weaponized against them and used for the purpose of immigration enforcement, upending their safety and their livelihoods by this unsanctioned cooperation between DMV administrators and ICE, and putting them at risk of being separated from their families. Fortunately, Colorado’s immigrant community has really strong support at the state legislature. We are grateful to Senator Gonzales and Representative Gonzales Gutierrez, who have been champions of immigrant rights issues, and will sponsor a bill this session to protect the private information that Coloradans have shared with state agencies.
We were able to work with the governor to pass guidance in May 2020. To protect Coloradans personal identifying information from being utilized by bad actors like ICE, and now it’s time to concretize that guidance into law. And so I’m so proud that I will be able to work alongside this coalition and alongside my colleague, Representative Serena Gonzales Gutierrez, to bring forward a bill this legislative session when we return to the Capitol next week to protect the personal identifying information of Coloradans from misuse by agencies like ICE.
This bill is about community safety and well being. It puts processes in place to ensure that coloradoans personal information is being used to enhance that safety and well being rather than to harm the community. Now, there are processes grounded in the rule of law that protect our expectations, the community’s expectations, and ensure that information is not divulged except for legitimate reasons, such as the prosecution of crime. This bill helps separate those legitimate purposes that protect the community from ICE’s actions that tear families apart. So, under the bill, our personal information cannot be used for immigration enforcement. However, it can be disclosed when a state agency is presented with a warrant, subpoena, or other order that has been signed by a judge. And for the state officials who are content to play a part in federal immigration enforcement, this bill provides much needed accountability.
I come from a home with two undocumented parents, a home where my father too was deported in 2012. And every day, I lived in a constant fear that by outing my mother, even if it was in a scholarship application, I ran the risk of losing her too. And that is the reality that most of our families are facing. There needs to be legislation to be protection for the rights and the well beings of all Coloradans. We can help to begin diminish the fear and build trust within our communities. We can take steps to help all members in our community feel safe, to reach out and to seek these services. This is how we begin to ensure that all Coloradans are safe and healthy.
A license, oh, that would be something. It would benefit not only me but everyone. And I could spread the word and invite more people to get a license, to do it without fear, because we would have a law that would protect our private information so they wouldn’t share it.
It is our responsibility in the state to ensure that all Coloradans have trust in our state agencies. That Trust has been broken and it’s on us to make it right.