Friday, July 16, 2010

Anonymous group in Utah and their list of 'alleged' 1,300 illegal immigrants

It's hard to not wonder about how far people will go to try to target Hispanics after reading this story about an anonymoust group that claims from following people around they have a list of 1,300 illegal immigrants, (link). The list came with the demand that all of these on the list be deported immediately - (link) and contained information that is raising questions as to how exactly was this information obtained:
It is not known who produced the list, although Gov. Gary Herbert has called for an investigation to see if the list was compiled by someone with access to state databases containing personal information. The list contains birth dates, workplaces, addresses, phone numbers and Social Security numbers. Names of children are included. Several pregnant women have their exact due dates listed. All the names seem to be Hispanic.

"This is a way to terrorize people," said Tony Yapias, director of Proyecto Latino and a former state director of Hispanic affairs.

He spent much of Tuesday calling people on the list to warn them and to figure out who may have collected the information.

"I'm nauseated," he said through tears. "All of these people are terrified. I don't have words to describe how scared they are. It just breaks my heart what they are telling me."

It was reported today that at least 2 state employees were involved in helping to access information to create the list (link) - they were escorted from their jobs.

It's also been reported by other media sources in Utah that not everyone on the list is an illegal immigrant - (link). With the range of emotions on the topic of immigration, this demonstrates why some are concerned at how far will this go, apparently some believe strongly enough to violate the law themselves (link):

In a press conference a few hours later, Kristen Cox, executive director of Workforce Services said, "The people we have identified certainly have some strong political opinions and seem to be frustrated with some of the issues surrounding immigration. Regardless of that, if they work for the Department of Workforce Services and if they want to go rogue, they need to quit the department."

Herbert, who was also at the press conference, said the state plans to take action against those responsible. The two people identified have been placed on administrative leave.

Kristen Cox, executive director of Workforce Services said most of the people on the list are there because their children are receiving benefits.
"Action is being taken in regards to that violation of not only our state protocol, rules and regulations and potential state law, but also violations of federal law in the giving of this information out inappropriately," he said.

Herbert said the investigation is far from over and that the state believes there were others involved in the creation and distribution of the list.

He said gaining access to the information was not easy, and that the people responsible worked hard to get it. "These people involved have been very patient, they've been very methodical, they've been very deliberate in violating protocols and breaching security to, in fact, gather this information," Herbert said.

The governor didn't deny his frustration over what he sees as inaction on illegal immigration from the federal government, he says invading privacy and breaking state and federal law to do it just pours "kerosene on the fire" that is the debate.

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