Colorado Bill Aims to Prohibit Information-Sharing with ICE
FAIR Take | March 2021
Colorado has been near the forefront of enacting dangerous immigration policies ever since the 2018 election, when Democrats held onto the governorship and State House of Representatives and flipped the Senate, establishing a trifecta. Since then Colorado has passed driver’s licenses for illegal aliens, illegal alien tenant protection, and a statewide sanctuary law that prevents state and local agencies from cooperating in many ways with federal immigration authorities. However, they seem intent on following California’s radical immigration policies by making things even more unsafe for their citizens and legal immigrant residents. This legislative session, more immigration legislation is being considered including a bill, Senate Bill (SB) 131, to prevent Colorado officials from sharing personal identification information (PII) with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
Hearing the uproar from open-border groups regarding the Colorado Division of Motor Vehicles sharing driver’s license information with ICE, Senator Julie Gonzales (D-Denver) and Representative Serena Gonzales-Gutierrez (D-Denver) introduced SB 131. Although information sharing in Colorado is completely legal, Sen. Julie Gonzales proclaimed, “[t]rust between the community and our state has been broken. It’s been destroyed by ICE’s wrongdoings.” In response, ICE spokesperson Alethea Smock stated, “ICE maintains that cooperation with local law enforcement is essential to protecting public safety.”
If SB 131 was enacted, information from public agencies in Colorado, including the DMV, would suddenly be among the most restricted in the country. Only New York’s law would be more stringent, where in some cases sharing DMV information is now a felony.
SB 131 includes measures in several categories to deliberately conceal PII from reaching federal immigration authorities. In addition, it prohibits the collection of some PII so agencies don’t have the information in the first place.
Definition of PII:
- The bill defines PII extremely broadly. It does not list specific information that must be excluded but rather uses a catch-all provision to include any “information that may be used, alone or in conjunction with any other information, to identify a specific individual.”
Limitations on state agencies:
- Prohibits state agency employees from disclosing or making accessible PII that is not available to the public for the purpose of investigating for, participating in, cooperating with, or assisting in federal immigration enforcement, unless it is to comply with a court-issued subpoena, warrant, or order.
Reduction of PII collected by state agencies:
- Prohibits state agency employees from inquiring into, or requesting information of documents to ascertain, a person’s immigration status for the purpose of identifying if the person has complied with federal immigration law.
- Prohibits state agencies from collecting data regarding a person’s place of birth, immigration or citizenship status, or information from passports, permanent resident cards, alien registration cards or employment authorization documents.
Access to state agency records:
- To receive access to Colorado PII, a third party must certify under penalty of perjury that the third party will not use or disclose PII.
- The Attorney General’s office will be required to create a model certification form and provide it to all state agencies.
Data privacy breaches:
- Makes any state agency employee who intentionally violates the provisions of the bill subject to an injunction and a civil penalty of up to $50,000 for each violation.
Currently, SB 131 is in the Senate State, Veterans, and Military Affairs Committee and is scheduled for a hearing March 16.