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July 26th, 2010
09:00 AM ET

Utah lawmaker crafting Arizona-style immigration bill

(CNN) – Arizona's controversial immigration law is set to take effect on Thursday. Just over the state's northern border, one Utah lawmaker's pushing ahead with a similar bill for his state. Two Utah state employees were just fired for a now-infamous immigration list. It had names and information of 1,300 Utah residents, all accused of of being there illegally. The debate is starting to divide the state, so our Ted Rowlands went to Salt Lake City for this AM original report. Watch Video

The Utah attorney general's office has announced a criminal investigation into the leak of immigrants' personal information.

Officials say two Utah Department of Workforce Services employees are believed to have created and distributed a list that contains information on 1,300 purported illegal immigrants. The attorney general's office launched its investigation Wednesday.

Officials said that some people on the list are in the United States legally. The list was distributed anonymously last week to media, local law enforcement and the governor's office.

Dave Lewis, a spokesman for the Utah Department of Workforce Services, said that one of the employees - a temporary worker - has been terminated. The agency issued an "intent to terminate employment" notice to the other employee.

"The other person (is) a longer service employee who has merit status," Lewis said Thursday. "We have certain protocols that we have to follow. She has the opportunity to grieve this and have a hearing with our executive director to tell her story and make her case" before termination.

The agency declined to identify either of the employees.

In a statement this week, Kristen Cox, executive director of Utah Department of Workforce Services, said staff members are carefully trained on the appropriate use and dissemination of private data, as required by federal laws and regulations.

"We carefully protect the personal information that we gather, and take very seriously breaches of that public trust," she said. "The list contained inaccurate information and undermines the need to maintain confidentiality and adhere to the due process rules of our country."

The list accompanied a letter from "Concerned Citizens of the United States" insisting that those named should be deported immediately.

Utah Gov. Gary Herbert told CNN's John King last week that the 1,300 people have Hispanic names.

Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff has said the incident may have broken state and federal privacy laws, and may have involved felonies, so a multilevel investigation may be required. He added that crimes may have been committed not only in generating and preparing the list but in how the list was used.

Some of the people have reported harassment since their names appeared on the list.

"Clearly, it's not even meant as a blacklist. It's more like a hit list," Shurtleff said this week. "It is, I think, to put people at fear, to terrorize, to get people mobilized to do things. The fact is, the names on that list are also innocent until proven guilty, and we're finding that some of those names ... are here legally."


Filed under: AM Original • Immigration
soundoff (19 Responses)
  1. CaliGirl

    @Lafenmom – first of all, Mexico is in NORTH AMERICA, which was also invaded by Spain. But it is in NORTH America.

    Have all you bigots ever stopped to wonder why most immigrants (south of the U.S.) come to this country? Most are NOT fugitives of the law. Very few come here trafficking drugs or people. The majority of immigrants are coming due to economic hardships directly affected by NAFTA and U.S. policies. It is not a coincidence that there was a large influx of immigrants from southern Mexico and Central America soon after NAFTA was signed in 1994. You can try to argue that it is Mexico's problem, but Mexico's own government is corrupt and almost always rendering the needs of their people last before those of the country which feeds its own corruption (the US).Those who migrate to this country do so in an attempt to survive. I wonder, if your family was suffering hunger and extreme poverty, would you not do the same? And please don't suggest that you would try to do it "legally," because when you're from Mexico or most other Latin American countries, that is nearly impossible.The majority of people who come to the U.S. illegally do so because the process of obtaining of visa is truly expensive or corrupt, and more often than not, it is a process that is not offered to them. But when you have to survive and have a family to look after, I think you, too, would do whatever it took to accomplish that.

    I know I won't change your mind, but I do implore you to think beyond what your little ignorant, U.S-centered, narcissist mind has been trained to think

    July 28, 2010 at 2:41 pm |
  2. Montana

    Utah Welfare list? I thought the majority in AZ, NM, TX, NV, UT, CO, OK, on Welfare, are old school Mormons (FLDS) who still practice polygamy with underage girls and send these girls in to claim they are single parents and get their checks. You should see some of the palace homes that are paid with welfare checks.

    July 27, 2010 at 9:23 pm |
  3. RICHARD D. DUFFY

    The answer is simple.
    We are a nation of laws and all laws must be enforced.
    Every state needs to adopt the same law and force the Federal government to
    fulfil their lawful responsibilities.
    Illegals need to go back to Mexico or elsewhere.
    The issue with Mexico is that they do not want their citizens back. Their
    country is receiving more income with their illegals working here and sending
    the money home while making no demands for goods and services. If 12 million or
    more people return to Mexico-where will they work? What services will they
    consume? What will be the impact on the corrupt Mexican Government?
    After living the "good life" in America, do you really think the illegals will
    be very happy returning to Mexico at their own expense??

    July 27, 2010 at 4:15 pm |
  4. howie

    perfect reason to immigrate legally..... and its very hypocritical of mexico to arrest Guatemalan illegals in mexico yet call us racist for even thinking about doing exactly the same think to our illegal immigrants....close and control our borders and allow responsible immigration that is conducive to our way of life and financially sustainable.... mexico can keep their druggies , gang bangers, crooks and prostitutes... we have filled all the open positions here in America in those fields with American's already

    July 27, 2010 at 11:52 am |
  5. Lynn

    How much of the so called "Stimulus Money"...you know the money Oblahblah claims was going to give American's jobs, is instead lining the pockets of greedy Contractors who hire "illegal aliens" to do concrete work, and other general construction jobs? I need a job and can't find one! Employers are the ones that should be brought up on criminal charges if they are knowingly hiring Illegals, whom they take advantage of to line their own pockets. Good old "American Greed" must be addressed in this issue, as well as a border that is a source of laughter throughout the World.

    July 27, 2010 at 10:48 am |
  6. RICHARD D. DUFFY

    The answer is simple.
    We are a nation of laws and all laws must be enforced.
    Every state needs to adopt the same law and force the Federal government to fulfil their lawful responsibilities.
    Illegals need to go back to Mexico or elsewhere.
    The issue with Mexico is that they do not want their citizens back. Their country is receiving more income with their illegals working here and sending the money home while making no demands for goods and services. If 12 million or more people return to Mexico-where will they work? What services will they consume? What will be the impact on the corrupt Mexican Government?
    After living the "good life" in America, do you really think the illegals will be very happy returning to Mexico at their own expense??

    July 27, 2010 at 9:50 am |
  7. Ronni in NJ

    Actually, for many that choose the dangerous route through the Mexican dessert it is not because they are criminals that can't pass a background check. It is because they can not afford the expensive, lengthy (and sometimes corrupt) visa process in their home countries. And for the record, I know some that have actually carried their passports with them (how do you think they got to Mexico?) so that they do have ID in case they get into trouble. Besides they will need it during the Citizinship process once in the US.

    July 27, 2010 at 8:54 am |
  8. vic nashville tn

    Take amnesty from the table, secure the border give them visa let them pay visa fees , after 10 years if they learn English and proved them self good citizens give them citizenship at the same time identify the criminals send them home

    July 27, 2010 at 8:34 am |
  9. Lafenmom

    Hmm..since there are illegals in the US who WANT to return to their countries but are AFRAID OF BEING ARRESTED IN MEXICO ILLEGALLY – call on the same Mexican president who says we're being mean to Mexicans when we jail or deport them, tell him to allow those illegals to travel back through Mexico to get to their home countries.

    July 27, 2010 at 8:33 am |
  10. Lafenmom

    Mark @ Brag... you numnits... where do you think Mexicans came from? Do you know anything about history except what you read on the internet? Spain invaded South America.

    Don't you wonder WHY someone would pay thousands to a coyote, or put their lives in danger by sneaking across the border in the dead of night instead of walking across through the checkpoints?

    Ya THINK it might have something to do with being wanted in their own country? OR being in Mexico illegally? OR not being able to pass the background check?

    July 27, 2010 at 8:29 am |
  11. Ronni

    I am fed up with the ignorance surrounding the issue of illegal immigrants. We do need to do something about immigration, that is obvious, the answer is not. All immigrants are not the same. They are not all turning neighborhoods into slums and they are not all evading paying taxes. There is a special tax id # that they can get to file their taxes, and many do. How many millions do they estimate are living here? What would happen if we deported them all? They do work and spend money here. It doesn't all get sent to "Mexico", and all immigrants are not from Mexico. Actually I don't know any from Mexico. But, back to the point. What happens to all the vacant rentals? I'm sure that will not be a positive impact on the current housing crisis. What about the shops where they buy food, cloths, and all the other items they purchase? Do we know how much money they contribute to this economy? Do you really think we can fill ALL the jobs that they vacate? Yes, something needs to be done to prevent illegal immigration. We can not have undocumented criminals running around. But, the reality is that the majority of those here are not "criminals", they are hardworking, honest people. The truth is that to just indiscriminately deport them all would do more harm to our economy than good.

    July 27, 2010 at 8:12 am |
  12. Mark @ Bragg

    The irony of a country created by 'settlers' which stole land and created a nation on said stolen land while murdering the native inhabitants to the point which the remnants live on reservations for Indians while pushing the former Mexican natives border back really knows no bounds... but I guess having empathy for other immigrants which this country was indeed founded on that very spirit would know empathy.

    We will watch as state after state adopt these laws deal with them. Although some were written in vague terms (except for Utah, which stated they simply couldn't rent or work) are left up to law enforcement to enforce, we will see the application of the law. We worry about racial profiling simply because these are states populated with their constituents are white. Let's watch as they search for these said criminals with their gangs and drug trade... Which both mostly deal in meth.

    Soon, I wonder what type of medallions would they adopt so the immigrants have to wear, or simply their chosen 'undesireables' would wear. If Jews had yellow stars, what would the Canadians and Mexicans wear? My fault, their is no concern for the nefarious Canadians.... Hmmmm

    July 27, 2010 at 8:04 am |
  13. Ronni

    It would be hypocritical for the federal gov't to go after cities and states with anti illegal immigration laws while supporting illegal immigration. When citizens commit illegal acts, federal, state, and local law enforcement go into action. Well, entering or being in this country ILLEGALLY is a criminal act. Where is federal enforcement of our federal laws? Until the federal gov't get its' act together, leave the states alone!

    Ronni
    Florida
    African-American

    July 27, 2010 at 7:32 am |
  14. Smith in Oregon

    It looks like Mormon Mitt Romney has a leg up on 2012 presidential campaign donations and name recognition as the Republican front runner. Apparently the rise of racism in the Republican led State of Arizona is also found in Utah. Since Mitt won't publicly condemn polygamy, I wonder if he'll also remain silent to the Republican goal of stripping brown skinned baby's born in America of their citizenship and deporting them to Mexico?

    July 26, 2010 at 5:36 pm |
  15. Joey

    @joe naborz

    As a Utah citizen, I believe its important to educate you on the truth behind the economics of our country. Utah is the largest supplier of copper to the world as well as has vast reserves of other resources including oil, coal, natural gas, silver, gold, etc. Your state would not stand on its own without the resources of the other states just as my state would not stand on its own without the resouces of the others. (ie, you probably wouldn't be able to manufacture the electronic goods in California without the metal resources from Utah and without the water and power you get from Arizona)

    Secondly, with your state bankrupt, I don't see how you're paying for us. We balance our own budget and keep things in check just fine on our own without IOU's from your state.

    July 26, 2010 at 5:30 pm |
  16. Marnie Michelle Estey

    Illegal immigrants are here against the law. if you look at the green signs placed there by the federal government, they clearly state," entering the United States illegally is a felony." How are we to know if just who these people really are? They have no background check, no real name or identification of any kind. They could be murders, drug dealers and even child mulishness. These people have destroyed our American dream, brought down our property value to our homes. They have turned beautiful neighborhoods into slums with filth, loud music at all times during the night. The disrupt all public schools and have led the United States into bankruptcy. I say to send all of them by brute force back to Mexico. or use the FEMA Death Camps that are on u-tube. Why don't we just shoot them on sight!

    July 26, 2010 at 3:58 pm |
  17. howie

    as a taxpayer I'm tired of supporting mexico and its illegal imports.... mexico would feel the bite if all the money illegals made here and sent there were to stop. i wonder if the relatives in mexico pay taxes on the income illegals make here and send back home to mexico? i'm also tired of hearing "they do jobs no white-man will do" oh really??? so we had no construction done by whites?? or painting or bridge building or road construction?? look around you its not lettuce fields you'll see them working in... its jobs that Americans always use to hold but can't any longer cause the illegals will do it for 1/2 the wage...

    July 26, 2010 at 3:47 pm |
  18. joe naborz

    Will Utah and Arizona now become self supporting?
    As a California taxpayer I'm tired of paying for these pariah states.

    July 26, 2010 at 10:28 am |
  19. Kenn Wilkinz

    I saw CNN's Morning Fix Today, an I am truly vexed. An illegal immigrant presently living in Utah admitted in an interview that he has been here illegally for 15 years. He's paranoid that INS may knock on his door at any given time, and he hopes that the U.S. will provide him an opportunity for citizenship so that he won't be deported.

    First of all, the U.S. has provided opportunities for citizenship ever since he's been in this country!!

    Second – I am sorely vexed that in one part of the country, Wesley Snipes can get a 3-year prison sentence for tax evasion – yet this individual in Utah (Jesus) has been evading taxes for 15 years! How come CNN can find him yet INS can not?!

    A proportionate prison sentence (compared to Snipes) would be 9 years. Of course it will never happen. This country is going to Hell in a handbasket!

    July 26, 2010 at 9:56 am |