King asks Department of Licensing to reject resignation over information-sharing

OLYMPIA… In a letter sent Monday evening to the Washington State Department of Licensing, Sen. Curtis King requested the agency reject the resignation of DOL deputy director Jeff DeVere, which appears related to the department’s sharing of information with federal immigration officials.

King, who serves as ranking minority member on the Senate Transportation Committee after spending five years as its chair, said additional review of a 2017 order by Gov. Jay Inslee and DOL’s policies are necessary to determine what, if anything, was done incorrectly.

“The governor’s executive order led to a fair amount of confusion in the Legislature and at multiple state agencies,” said King, R-Yakima. “Mr. DeVere’s resignation implies he is taking the fall when agency employees may have been in compliance with agency rules. It’s too early to make any final determination given the state Attorney General’s office is still looking into the matter. It sets a bad precedent to force out a well-regarded and effective public servant without a thorough understanding of the facts.”

In the letter King stated he has not communicated with DeVere on this issue, nor has anyone requested his intervention.

DeVere’s resignation comes days after a report in the Seattle Times that DOL has been providing the federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency with photos and information included on driver’s license applications. Inslee signed an executive order in February 2017 attempting to prevent state agencies from assisting federal immigration officials.

“Having worked with Mr. DeVere on a number of issues in his current role and in his previous position in law enforcement, I have found him to be a valuable asset to our state,” said King. “Acting this quickly makes it appear more about finding a scapegoat than the facts.”