Two workers from Utah’s Department of Workforce Services were identified by the governor’s office today as sources of the state’s infamous immigrant hit list. The AP’s reporting that both workers have been placed on administrative leave, and could face up to six months in jail and a $1000 fine for their actions.
“These tactics by these rogue employees to go out and single out individuals and their families and in some cases falsely accusing people of an illegal status is deplorable and is counterproductive to the issue that ought to be the focus,” Gov. Gary Herbert told reporters, according to the Salt Lake Tribune.
We’ve been reporting all week on how the state’s Latino community has been terrorized ever since media outlets and ICE officials received an anonymous letter containing 1,300 Latino names, along with personal information such as Social Security numbers. The letter alleged the people were all undocumented immigrants, though at least some of the people on the list are not. The two state workers are accused of sending the letter and breaching a private government database to cull the information in it.
As predicted, both workers appear to have strong anti-immigrant views.
“It was a very small group. The people identified certainly have some strong political opinions and seem to be frustrated around some of the issues around immigration,” Kristen Cox, who heads the compromised department, told the AP.
Earlier today, before news hit of both workers being identified, Ali Noorani, executive director of the National Immigration Forum, facilitated a national conference call that he said was a “bipartisan show of unity.” The public call included Utah state Sen. Luz Robles, Attorney General Mark Shurtleff and Clarissa Martinez, of the National Council of La Raza.
“Beyond the need to hold people responsible and accountable legally, we condone in the strongest possible terms the generation and dissemination of this list,” said Attorney General Shurtleff on the call.
Shurtleff went on to say that no matter how strongly people feel about immigration, the state doesn’t condone spying on and violating the privacy of men, pregnant women and children. He also urged the federal government to act quickly to pass comprehensive immigration reform to help resolve the matter. In prosecuting this case, his office will probably work closely with the U.S. attorney’s office, because both state and federal privacy laws had been breached. So far, however, neither worker has been charged and their names haven’t been released publicly.
Photo: Utah Governor Gary Herbert