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The Washington Independent

Two State Employees Accused of Creating Utah Immigrant List

It appears that two employees of the Utah Department of Workforce Services were behind the list of possible illegal immigrants released early this week. The

Daniel James
News
Last updated: Jul 31, 2020 | Jul 16, 2010

It appears that two employees of the Utah Department of Workforce Services were behind the list of possible illegal immigrants released early this week. The list, which was sent to various government agencies, gave extensive personal information about 1,300 Utah residents accused of being in the country illegally.Utah Gov. Gary Herbert (R) said this morning the list was created by at least two state employees. “This appears to be a very deliberate, a very patient violation of security protocols by these individuals,” he told a Utah radio station, adding that information on the alleged creators will be turned over to the attorney general’s office by Monday.

On a conference call just now, Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff said the creators will likely be prosecuted for violating federal and state privacy laws:

We will begin an immediate, formal aggressive investigation. … From what we’re hearing, most likely both federal and state privacy laws have been violated. We are taking it very seriously here and we are working very hard to get to the bottom of it. … We condemn in the strongest possible terms the generation and distribution of this list, the spirit behind it. … That’s not the way we do things in Utah. That’s not the way we do things in this country. … We need to do it in a way that is not through hate-mongering, threats, and outright racism.

Update: Here’s the full press release from Gov. Herbert:

SALT LAKE CITY – The Utah Department of Workforce Services has identified at least two employees who are believed to be involved in the creation of a list containing the personal information of some 1,300 people.

Governor Gary R. Herbert directed all state agencies to conduct an internal review immediately upon learning of the existence of the document, which purports to contain private data of illegal immigrants living in the state.

The statewide review quickly narrowed to the Department of Workforce Services, which maintains a database containing information matching that on the list.

“Release of such private, sensitive information is deplorable,” Governor Herbert said. “We immediately took action to discover the origins of this list, and I’m pleased with the hard work of the Department of Workforce Services. When someone does business with the state of Utah, they deserve to know that their private information will be kept private.”

The two employees have been placed on administrative leave pending completion of the full investigation. Others may be identified as the review continues. Information will be turned over to the Utah Attorney General’s Office for its review and possible further action.

According to DWS policy, access and distribution of personal and confidential records can be punishable by termination of employment. Misuse of confidential information may also constitute a violation of state and federal law.

The 29-page list has garnered national and international attention because of the ties to the ongoing debate over illegal immigration in Utah and across the country.

Governor Herbert will host a roundtable discussion on immigration reform on July 20, and hopes this situation does not impede thoughtful and respectful discussion on the issue.

“This is a serious public policy matter that should be discussed in a rational and reasonable manner,” the Governor said. “This ‘list’ is not something that should be used for political gain, which is something we have seen over the past week. I encourage everyone, no matter their views on immigration, to approach this with respect for all people and points of view.”

Daniel James | Daniel James is an author, keynote speaker, and entrepreneur who is a professional coach and gerontologist. Daniel holds a bachelor's degree from Georgia Tech, a master's degree from UCLA, a diploma in gerontology from the University of Boston, as well as a Professional Coaching Certification.

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