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July 19th, 2010
11:00 AM ET

List exposes 'illegal' immigrants

(CNN) – Two Utah state employees are on administrative leave right now. Officials say they may be involved in a now infamous list of 1,300 people, all accused of being illegal immigrants. The list was sent out to Utah government offices and the media. It included extremely personal details: Contact information, social security numbers, even pregnancy due dates. Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff joined us on Monday's American Morning for the latest in the investigation.

The Utah Department of Workforce Services said Friday it has identified at least two employees believed to be involved in creating a list containing the personal information of a purported 1,300 alleged illegal immigrants.

"At this point we don't think it was a very large conspiracy. We think it was two, maybe. We have suspicion of a couple of more people, a very small group," said Kristen Cox, the executive director of the Department of Workforce Services.

"Release of such private, sensitive information is deplorable," Gov. Gary Herbert said in a news release. "We immediately took action to discover the origins of this list, and I'm pleased with the hard work of the Department of Workforce Services. When someone does business with the state of Utah, they deserve to know that their private information will be kept private."

Herbert told CNN's John King on Friday night that the 1,300 people have Hispanic names and not all of them are in the state illegally.

The two employees have been placed on administrative leave pending completion of the full investigation and other employees may be identified as the review continues, the news release said. The Utah attorney general's office will review data from the investigation for possible further action.

"The people we've identified certainly have some strong political opinions and seem to be frustrated with some of the issues around immigration," Cox said. "Regardless of what their frustration is, they work for the Department of Workforce Services and for state government. They understand what the rules are. They understand the protocols. And if they want to go rogue, they need to quit the department. I think it's immense hypocrisy to take someone to task for being illegal and doing so by breaking the law."

The state focused on the Utah Department of Workforce Services, Herbert's office said Thursday, because all of the information on the 29-page list - including contact information, Social Security numbers and pregnancy due dates - is contained within that agency's database. Information from the investigation may be turned over to state prosecutors, a statement from the office said.

The list was anonymously distributed to media and government offices across the state, CNN affiliate KSTU-TV reported. An accompanying letter from "Concerned Citizens of the United States" insisted that those on the list should be deported immediately.

Thursday, a group of Latino activists told reporters that the list had sparked widespread fear.

"Our community is very concerned, very worried about it," said Tony Yapias with Proyecto Latino de Utah. "I would say they have been terrorized, many of them. People are just afraid of what's happening."

Those named on the list are even more frightened, said Jesus Ramos with the Utah Coalition of La Raza.

"For these 1,300 people, unfortunately that fear has escalated," he said. "There's an arrest warrant out, essentially. That fear never goes away."

Herbert said Friday, "Some are scared and apprehensive. I understand that. I expect that comes with the status of being illegal. If I was in the country illegally, I would probably have fear and apprehension, too."

Utah Minuteman Project co-chairman Eli Cawley told CNN affiliate KSL-TV that he had some concerns about privacy and how the names were procured, but he would have released a similar list if he could have.

"If it were a reliable list and it had come from a source that was acknowledged and vetted, then yes, I would absolutely support something like that," he said.

But Herbert said Friday the information shouldn't have gone out to anyone, even the government agency charged with enforcing immigration law.

"It's a violation of federal law to take this information and give it to ICE, whether it's out there or not," the governor said, referring to the federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency.

"If we have laws on the books, they need to be enforced and we're enforcing it here on this breach of the law as it appears on disclosing confidential information," Herbert said. "But I also believe the issue at hand, the underlying issue of illegal immigration, is something that needs to be addressed also. We know the frustration of the people out there because of the inaction of the federal government, in particular, in enforcing the law."

Herbert has plans to bring together a "spectrum" of viewpoints, some "diametrically opposed," for a roundtable discussion on immigration reform in Utah on Tuesday.

"We see what's happened in Arizona. So Utah, like other states right now, are saying if the federal government is not going to do something, we will take steps to do something ourselves within the parameters of the law. It may mean creating new law," he said.

Filed under: Immigration • U.S.
soundoff (12 Responses)
  1. ExExZonie

    Roles = rolls. 😛

    July 27, 2010 at 3:27 am |
  2. ExExZonie

    Compare the list to voter roles and challenge each registration!

    July 27, 2010 at 3:27 am |
  3. jJohn Smith

    Well this goes to show how those teabaggers are discriminating. Heck some of the people on the list are US citizens, butt holes,racist. Called it what ity is. This state workers need to go to jail and pay for their crime. Hitler use to kill people based on the color of their eyes. Hispanix are being targeted for the color of their skin. Shame on us for being so racist. Give them amnesty and thats it.

    July 24, 2010 at 10:02 pm |
  4. nancy

    @ Patrick Henry July 19th, 2010 11:27 am ET

    These two should be given medals and the salaries of the ICE officials that refuse to do their jobs.

    EXACTLY ~~ great post... Round em up, head em South.

    July 20, 2010 at 11:37 am |
  5. La Lydia

    Shertleff and those who support what he is doing need to be called out, in plain English, on what they are advocating: totally open borders, no control of who is in our country, the transfer of wealth from Americans to non-Americans, abolishing the Rule of Law and, as a result, chaos.

    July 20, 2010 at 11:20 am |
  6. Elizabeth

    Well at least some group can find the illegals and here we've been listening to the federal government say it's imposible.

    July 20, 2010 at 10:25 am |
  7. ronvan

    This is just another example of why this illegal problem will not be solved. The list is not the problem, the problem is US! WHY can we make it legal for certain "american citizens" to be placed on lists, throughout this country, and yet raise so much cain to put ILLEGAL's on a list? IF we could even find all the illegals in this country and have them deported what would happen? The first thing, for me, would be that those companies who had knowingly hired illegals would have to raise their prices to offset the cost of hiring legal workers! And we might be very surprised to find out just how many employers had been using illegals. I really don't like it, but again, I would make it law that ALL illegals currently in the U.S.A. would have 90 days to get their papers! This would not include anyone with a criminal record. Forget about paying any penalities as this would just cause many to shy away from trying to become legal. However, this will not work until we can secure our borders! And you must think about all borders. N.-S-E-W, as those making money bringing illegals into this country will try to find a way to get them in.

    July 20, 2010 at 9:24 am |

    I agree with Patrick Henry! If someone is illegal they have NO rights!

    July 20, 2010 at 8:45 am |
  9. Steven

    If the people who sent out this list did so illegally they should be fired. If the people who are on this list are in this country illegally they should be deported. just because this list was made public illegally, doesn't give the illegals on it a free pass. Those who are on the list incorrectly have nothing to worry about as long as they can produce documents that prove their citizenship.

    July 19, 2010 at 7:08 pm |
  10. Nat

    The people whos id were stolen by illlegals had their personal info exposed and in U.S. there are thousands of them. The government offocials don't do a lot about this problem. The victims have to fight on their own. In contrast, nice to know that same officials care a lot about info on illegals, who even don't have ss# or bank accounts. The due date of the pregnant woman isn't a very personal info. Can I repeat one more time, that America for illegals and not for Americans? At least I feel that our government cares more about welfare of illlegals, than Americans.

    July 19, 2010 at 6:40 pm |
  11. Michael Armstrong Sr.

    The government is counter productive to our laws and are hiding there injustice from the people either enforce the American laws or change the laws or move over to let some one else in that will .

    July 19, 2010 at 11:36 am |
  12. Patrick Henry

    These two should be given medals and the salaries of the ICE officials that refuse to do their jobs.

    July 19, 2010 at 11:27 am |