New reports coming out this afternoon indicate Utah Gov. Gary Herbert’s office is certain a state database in the Department of Workforce Services was breached to create a list of 1,300 Latinos accused of being undocumented and circulated to media. The list was accompanied by a letter signed only with the tag “Concerned Citizens of the United States” and calling for the immediate deportation of everyone included.
The names, which were sent to officials at ICE and media outlets earlier this week, has caused widespread panic and distrust in the state’s Latino community. And, perhaps by design, has shifted at least some of the national furor over immigration reform from Arizona to Utah.
Along with names, the list also included social security numbers, birth dates, workplaces, addresses, phone numbers, and the names of children and pregnant women’s projected due dates.
Almost immediately after news of the list became public on Monday, it was suspected of being the inside job of a state employee with access to personal and workforce information. At least 10 IT workers have been assigned to thoroughly examine records from the Department of Workforce Services, which administers food stamps and children’s health insurance programs.
The AP reported earlier today that if a state employee did intentionally release the private records, they face a misdemeanor punishable by up to six months in jail and a $1,000 fine. If the records were stolen, the act becomes a felony and could be punishable by up to five years in prison and a $5,000 fine.
Angie Welling, a spokeswoman for the governor, said that the investigation will likely be turned over to the state’s attorney general’s office by Monday.