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Proposed Colorado law would protect undocumented immigrants' personal information

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Posted at 1:35 PM, Feb 16, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-16 15:35:11-05

DENVER – During the current legislative session, Colorado lawmakers will introduce a bill that would limit state departments from sharing personal information with federal immigration authorities without a warrant or order signed by a judge.

“Over a year ago, Senator Julie Gonzales introduced this legislative effort to essentially put layers of protections in place for our personal information that’s being held by the state government,” said the director of policy and civil rights litigation for the Meyer Law Office, Arash Jahanian.

Jahanian who also worked on the bill, told Denver7 when Coloradans share information with the government in exchange for services, there's an expectation that the information is protected but that has not always been the case, especially for undocumented immigrants.

Last week, a public records request by the Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition revealed some DMV employees were voluntarily turning over immigrant's personal information to ICE.

“In 2013, there was a driver’s license program designed that allowed certain immigrants who had not been able to access licenses before, to get them and to be able to drive legally in the State of Colorado. Now, we are finding out that the DMV is turning that information over to ICE, so it’s a betrayal of the trust of the community,” said Jahanian.

According to Jahanian, the bill would build on protections Governor Polis put in place that gave state agencies guidance on data sharing matters and set up some internal protections.

“But that’s not strong enough,” said Jahanian. “There are still loopholes in that guidance and this is so important that needs to be in law in the State of Colorado."

Jahanian told Denver7 that by making the policy a law, it won't be easily changed by a new administration.