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Colorado lawmakers propose limiting state data-sharing

The proposal aims to restore the trust between Colorado's immigrant communities and the state.

DENVER — Colorado senators plan to introduce a bill in next week's legislative session that would protect personally identifying information Coloradans share with the state when accessing state agency services, according to the Colorado Immigration Rights Coalition (CIRC).

The legislation aims to restore the trust between Colorado's immigrant communities and the state, said CRIC. 

"Rebuilding trust right now is incredibly important, not only in the larger picture, but even more now as the distribution of vaccines has been underway," said State Representative Serena Gonzales-Gutierrez (D-Denver).

The proposed law clarifies that an individual’s personal and private information cannot be shared with outside entities for the purpose of civil immigration enforcement purposes and is an effort to restore this critical trust. No Coloradan should have to fear that information they provide to the state will be used against them, said CIRC.

> The video above aired in late January and explains the data privacy campaign.

In a memorandum, CIRC stated that Senate Bill 13-251 encouraged undocumented immigrants to share their information, information that was then weaponized against them. 

“I haven’t been able to get a license, because I’m afraid," said former CIRC board member Mercedes Garcia. "How am I going to get a Colorado ID when that’s my worst fear, that the DMV would have my information and share it with ICE?"

CIRC said trust was broken as public records revealed consistent and deliberate communication between Colorado Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) employees and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents. Over 200 emails show staff in the DMV fraud investigations unit operating as unofficial deputized immigration officers by proactively helping ICE identify, surveil and detain individuals — in all instances without a warrant, order or subpoena. 

RELATED: Colorado state representatives seeking immigration legal defense fund

"In May 2020, Governor Polis issued guidance to all state agencies regarding the appropriate handling of data requests and relationships with law enforcement agencies. The guidance is meant to balance the need to protect an individual’s privacy from unnecessary intrusion, with the state’s need to ensure public safety and support with law enforcement," a spokesperson for Governors Polis' office said. 

"ICE maintains that cooperation with local law enforcement is essential to protecting public safety." ICE responded when asked for comment.

9NEWS also reached out to the Independence Institute for comment on the bill and they said they did not have a statement at this time. 9NEWS also reached out to Colorado House Republicans and has not yet heard back.

RELATED: Biden to propose 8-year citizenship path for immigrants

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