Update @ 3:00p ET: Scroll down to read the full text of the two letters sent to media, elected officials and law enforcement. The original letter’s signers, identified only as “Concerned Citizens of the United States,” vow to continue tracking people they believe to be undocumented immigrants and to send out more personal info on those people.
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 health and employment agencies are usually the ones with access to such detailed personal information. At least some of the people named on the list have already been proven to be documented residents.
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 Deseret 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.”
Officials at ICE haven’t confirmed whether it’s investigating the matter, citing policy against such announcements unless an investigation leads to an enforcement action.* Spokesperson Virginia Kice told the Deseret News: “ICE has a finite number of resources and focuses first on those dangerous convicted criminal aliens who present the greatest risk to the security of our communities, not sweeps or raids to target undocumented immigrants indiscriminately.”
Utah Gov. Gary Herbert Tweeted yesterday asking state agencies to investigate the matter.
This post has been updated since publication and clarifies ICE’s statement.
FULL TEXT OF LETTER
To Whom It May Concern:
This letter on the other side of the page and the names shown in the white areas on this list were sent to the Customs & Immigration Office in Salt Lake City in April 2010. So far, we have not observed any action. In the meantime, we have been hard at work obtaining additional names of what we believe are illegal immigrants in this state. These additional names are shown in the shaded areas. The total is over 1300 names.
To the elected officials, we would 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 now take advantage of our system. To the media—we would ask that you show the public the names and numbers and ask the question—how much are they costing taxpayers to continue to support their existence in this country and in this state.
It is troublesome that as citizens of this state and country, we must hid in the background in order to expose those who would cross our borders illegally and take advantage of our system. We can’t afford to keep them. We are adamant that they be deported immediately. DO YOUR JOB AND STOP MAKING EXCUSES! WE DEMAND ACTION.
CC: Sheriffs in the State of Utah Police Chiefs in the State of Utah (affected) Many of the Newspapers in the State of Utah Associated Press Many of the Radio Stations in the State of Utah House of Representatives—State of Utah Senate—State of Utah Department of Homeland Security Utah Senators—United States Utah Legislature—United States Governor—State of Utah
04 April 2010
To: Customs and Immigration From: Concerned Citizens of the United States
We are enclosing a list of individuals who we strongly believe are in this country illegally and should be immediately deported. This list is a result of hard work by a large force of tax-paying citizens over the course of many months who live throughout the State of Utah. Our group observes these individuals in our neighborhoods, driving our streets, working in our stores, attending our schools and entering our public welfare buildings. 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 to add them to our list.
We are not a militia. We are not any named organization. We are not a cult. We are not a gang. We are not terrorists. We are not violent nor do we support violence. We love our country. We love our state. We love our government. We love our constitution.
We are simply citizens who continue to see the degradation of our country and our state caused in part by the continuing presence of illegal aliens who are allowed to stay in our country. Some of the women on the list are pregnant at this time and steps should be taken for immediate deportation.
We welcome any person into our country who has come here legally and is totally self-sufficient. But we are tired of seeing our country—and our state—continue to allow illegal immigrants to remain here—and even worse—continue to enable their illegal presence by allowing them to receive housing, food, jobs, welfare, education and other benefits that should be reserved only for US citizens or individuals who are legally here. We see a direct relationship between these illegal aliens and the escalation of crime in our communities in the form of drug and alcohol abuse, theft and domestic violence. Our country cannot—and should not—continue to support this type of situation. They need to go—and go now.
We plan to provide your office with new lists on a continual basis and request—no insist—that your agency take immediate and forceful action to the individuals on this list and begin deportation now. Hopefully, our continued lists and your immediate enforcement will be all that is necessary to eliminate this situation. If we do not observe quick action, you will be welcome to explain to the media and the rest of the citizens in the state why you did not perform your duty.
We will be listening and watching.