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Utah Immigration ‘List’ Update

Two Utah state employees have been suspended and at least a dozen more are under investigation for anonymously releasing private databank names of 1,300 alleged undocumented residents.

Ironically, the names of the two suspended employees in the Department of Workforce Services were not released. Between 1,200 and 1,400 DWS employees can access the records of those on Medicaid.

State investigators said this “list” was finely culled over a period of months and first issued to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement in Salt Lake City in April and to state and local law enforcement agencies and news outlets earlier this week. It warned:

“We ask that you remember who you work for in this country — you work for America and for the citizens in the state of Utah. You DO NOT work for illegal immigrants who have come into our country illegally and who now take advantage of our system,” it said. “They need to go — and go now.”

Now that we can presume the list was released by state employees despite their personal frustrations which I appreciate, it should send shivers to all law-abiding citizens that rogue state employees can violate confidentiality laws as they see fit.

The list included names, ages, addresses, places of employment, due date of pregnancies, Social Security numbers and names of about 200 children.

Republican Gov. Gary Herbert said the state would not investigate those persons on the list. That does not mean Immigration Customs and Enforcement did not investigate in April nor has it announced an investigation now since the list stirred considerable controversy.

All the names on the list were Latinos and at least one advocacy group Proyecto Latino de Utah said some were legal residents.

Workforce Services administers unemployment benefits, Medicaid, children health insurance and food stamps programs.

As for prosecution of the state employees, Utah has a whistle blowers protection act. The Salt Lake Tribune:

There is a whistle-blower defense in the Utah law protecting an individual who violates the law believing he or she is exposing government corruption, and Eli Cawley, co-chairman of the Utah Minuteman Project, said that protection could apply.

“I believe whoever prepared the list is a patriot because they revealed violations of the law” committed by the immigrants, Cawley said, although he said he would not condone the publication of private information of any citizen or legal resident.

Gov. Herbert: “These people involved have been very patient, they’ve been very methodical, they’ve been very deliberate.”

U.S. Labor Secretary Hilda Solis said the release of confidential information is “highly disturbing.”

“I am deeply concerned about these reports, and assure the public that the U.S. Department of Labor will closely follow and work to support the investigation that has been launched by the state of Utah,” she said. “No one, regardless of race, gender or ethnic background, should fear that by applying for government benefits or programs, he or she is at risk of having personal information revealed. The unauthorized release of such information is against the law, and the perpetrators should be punished.”



This account brings you up to date on the Utah fiasco which I think is vigilante justice perpetuated by state employees who violated law and ethics to achieve their goal. Their governor said they displayed patience. That’s BS. I don’t know the politics played in this particular state agency. Doing it anonymously is an act of cowardice, justified most likely to save their jobs. The proper course was sign their names to the released list and take it through the chain of command all the way to the governor and head of federal immigration. Each step would be protected by the whistle blower law. If that fails, then go public.

Categories: Uncategorized
  1. July 19, 2010 at 10:51 am

    I received an email from a person who said I was wrong by referring to illegal immigrants rather than illegal aliens. Technically, that is correct historically, circa the 1970s. The accepted usage is illegal immigrants today just as blacks is more common usage than African-Americans, Negros or coloreds. — Jer

  2. Ruthlessma
    July 19, 2010 at 11:56 am

    If you enter the United States of America and do not pass through Customs, you have entered this country illegally and are a felon. For those that support illegal immigrants (felons), then you must also support the other “felons” in your community (bank robbers, child molesters, rapists, murderers, arsonists, etc)., otherwise you are a hypocrite. It’s about time someone exposed these Latino Felons. I do not condone releasing confidential records, but it does show the level of frustration of tax-paying, law abiding,community supporting Americans. Go Utah!

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