July 14, 2010 in Nation/World

Immigrants targeted in Utah mailing

Brock Vergakis Associated Press
 

SALT LAKE CITY – A list containing the names and personal information of 1,300 people an anonymous group contends are illegal immigrants has been mailed around Utah, terrifying the state’s Hispanic community.

Republican Gov. Gary Herbert wrote in a tweet Tuesday that he has asked state agencies to investigate the list – sent anonymously to several media outlets, and law enforcement and state agencies. A letter accompanying the list demands that those on it be deported immediately.

Most of the names on the list are of Hispanic origin. The list also contains highly detailed personal information such as Social Security numbers, birth dates, workplaces, addresses and phone numbers. Names of children are included, along with due dates of pregnant women on the list.

“My phone has been ringing nonstop since this morning with people finding out they’re on the list,” said Tony Yapias, former director of the Utah Office of Hispanic Affairs. “They’re feeling terrorized. They’re very scared.”

The list’s release comes as Utah lawmakers consider sponsoring a tough new illegal immigration law similar to the one passed recently in Arizona.

Arizona’s law, which takes effect July 29, directs police enforcing other laws to ask about a suspect’s immigration status if there is reason to believe the person is in the United States illegally.

The letter included a long recipient list, including law enforcement and state agencies, various Utah officials and the Department of Homeland Security.

Dave Lewis, communication director for the state Department of Workforce Services, said his agency received a copy from the governor’s office Tuesday.

“We’ve got some people in our technology department looking at it right now,” he said. “It’s a high priority. We want to figure out the how’s and why’s.”

He said his agency is one of several with access to the information included in the list.

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