Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Utah Group Sends 1,300 Immigrant Names, Personal Info to Press

Utah Group Sends 1,300 Immigrant Names, Personal Info to Press

Utah state officials are investigating how a list of 1,300 largely Latino names and sensitive personal information got sent to media outlets and ICE officials this week. The list, which an anonymous group claims is a roll of the state's undocumented immigrants, includes information like Social Security numbers, birth dates, workplaces, addresses and phone numbers. And in case it couldn't get more frightening, it's also got the names of children and due dates for the list's pregnant women.

State employment agencies are usually the ones with access to such detailed personal information.

In an accompanying letter, the anonymous group demanded that those on the list be deported immediately. The list to news outlets also came with a letter, dated April 4, from "Concerned Citizens of America."

"Our group observes these people in our neighborhoods, driving on our streets, working in our stores, attending our schools and entering our public welfare buildings," the letter reads, according to Utah's Dessert News. "We then spend the time and effort needed to gather information along with legal Mexican nationals who infiltrate their social networks and help us obtain the necessary information we need."

The group says it plans to send new lists on a continual basis and insists that state and federal agencies take "forceful action."

While state officials scramble to investigate the matter, some in the state's Latino community are terrified.

"It feels like we're being persecuted," one mother of four who is on the list told local reporters.

Meanwhile, community advocates are outraged.

"My phone has been ringing nonstop since this morning with people finding out they're on the list," Tony Yapias, former director of the Utah Office of Hispanic Affairs, told Yahoo News. "They're feeling terrorized. They're very scared."

At least some of the people named on the list have already been proven to be documented.

Officials at ICE haven't confirmed whether it's investigating the matter because of "finite resources," while Utah Gov. Gary Herbert Tweeted yesterday asking state agencies to investigate the matter.

Mosi A. Ifatunji, Ph.D. Candidate
ASA Pre-Doctoral Fellow
University of Illinois at Chicago
Department of Sociology (MC 312)
1007 West Harrison Street
Chicago, Illinois 60607-7140
Call/Text: (312) 607-2825
Twitter: @ifatunji

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