Authorities in Utah said Friday that at least two state employees may have been responsible for compiling and distributing a list containing the names and personal information of 1,300 people who, the senders charged, are illegal immigrants and should be deported immediately.
The employees, who were placed on leave, work for the Department of Workforce Services, which maintains a database containing information matching that on the list. More state employees also might be involved, and officials said the investigation into the list continues.
The list, sent to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement in Salt Lake City in April, was redistributed this week with additional names to Utah lawmakers, news organizations and police chiefs. The senders called themselves Concerned Citizens of the United States and demanded that authorities begin deporting people on the list.
The list included addresses, Social Security numbers and even whether some women were pregnant. "Most likely both federal and state privacy laws may have been violated," Utah Atty. Gen. Mark L. Shurtleff said Friday.
Shurtleff, speaking in a teleconference from Salt Lake City, was joined by immigrant rights advocates, a lawmaker and the head of a group that promotes stronger immigration controls in denouncing the list.
Shurtleff and the others sounded similar themes — that a new Arizona law to control illegal immigration was promoting anti-immigrant sentiment and that the aggressive nature of the list did not reflect the welcoming nature of Utah.
"I know that the good people of Utah won't have any of this," said Paul T. Mero, president of the Sutherland Institute, a conservative think tank.
The speakers also said that the federal government's failure to enact a comprehensive overhaul of immigration rules, with a path to citizenship for illegal residents, helped foment anger and ill will against illegal immigrants.