July 20th, 2010
09:03 PM ET

Utah moves to fire 2 over immigrants data list

The Utah Department of Workforce Services has moved to fire two employees believed to have created and distributed a list containing personal information of 1,300 purported illegal immigrants, officials said Tuesday.

The agency terminated a temporary worker and issued an "intent to terminate employment" notice to the other, spokesman Dave Lewis said. The latter career employee is on paid administrative leave pending a hearing, he said.

Information from a completed internal review of the data leak will be given to the state's attorney general Wednesday for possible legal action, the department said.

Meanwhile, the agency cleared eight other employees questioned in connection with the list, Lewis said.

"Workforce Services' staff members are carefully trained on the appropriate use and dissemination of private data as required by federal laws and regulations," Kristen Cox, executive director of the agency, said in a statement. "We carefully protect the personal information that we gather, and take very seriously breaches of that public trust. The list contained inaccurate information and undermines the need to maintain confidentiality and adhere to the due process rules of our country."

Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff said on CNN's "American Morning" on Monday that he expects to launch a formal investigation into the data leak soon. A spokesman for Shurtleff said Tuesday that the department will be fair.

"The fact they [the employees] are fired has no bearing on the investigation," said Scott Troxel, deputy communications director.

The list was anonymously distributed last week to media and government offices across the state, CNN affiliate KSTU-TV reported. An accompanying letter from "Concerned Citizens of the United States" insisted that those on
the list should be deported immediately.

Utah Gov. Gary Herbert told CNN's John King on Friday night that the 1,300 people have Hispanic names. Lewis indicated Tuesday that some on the list are citizens and others are noncitizens with work permits.

Shurtleff said the alleged crimes may have broken state and federal privacy laws, and some may have been felonies, so if appropriate, there could be a multilevel investigation. He added that crimes may have been committed not only in generating and preparing the list, but also in how the list was used. Some of the alleged illegal immigrants listed have reported harassment since their names appeared on the list.

"Clearly, it's not even meant as a blacklist. It's more like a hit list. It is, I think, to put people at fear, to terrorize, to get people mobilized to do things. The fact is, the names on that list are also innocent until proven guilty, and we're finding that some of those names ... are here legally," Shurtleff said.

Lewis said the Department of Workforce Services will look at its auditing procedures to see if such a leak can be prevented in the future.

"The vast majority of our employees are dedicated and doing a good job," Lewis said.

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Filed under: Crime • Human rights
soundoff (5 Responses)
  1. mudbone9

    I don't have a problem with them prosecuting these two if they released the names but I do have a problem with the Utah Department of Workforce Services providing for illegals while real Americans go without jobs and are hungry. Illegals have depressed the wages of lower paying jobs for years and now they are taking these jobs from Americans when they need them to make ends meet. The US is fast becoming a third world country with all this "in-sourcing". This is proof positive that the federal government aids and protects illegal immegrants more than they protect real Americans.

    July 20, 2010 at 10:41 pm | Report abuse |
  2. glenn davis

    The real deal.
    Mudbone can you not read. The Utah, Attorney General said, some of those people on the list are U.S. citizens, and some are non citizens with work permits. How come none of these incidents came about when Bush, was President? what jobs are illegals takeing away from us? jobs we won't do, like be a maid, take care of our kids, do garden work? we created this mess. If we never gave them jobs in the first place they would not have been here.

    July 21, 2010 at 11:53 am | Report abuse |
  3. BigEd

    Jobs illegals take away: Carpenter; Laborer; Architect; Construction Manager; Draftsman; Chef; Kitchen help; Plumber; Any and all trades can and will be done by illegals. Most construction sites are now spanish speaking only. check it out!

    July 21, 2010 at 1:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • sunnyc

      ha i hate to say it but all these jobs, caucasions wont even want to do it, nd if they do, they do a pretty crappy job. i will admit, there are some white people in these areas that can keep up with latinos and they speak spanish also or have always grown up with lations. face it guys, all white people really like doing, is working at home from a computer or in a nice air conditioned office. the day a white person will be picking strawberries or fruits from fields ha... that'll be the day

      July 21, 2010 at 8:31 pm | Report abuse |
  4. mudbone9

    Mr. Davis I have to wonder if you are illiterate because you apparently do not understand that the words "some" and "others" is not the same as the words "all" or "none". The article does not say that none of the names on the list are illegal immigrants or that all of them are citizens or noncitizens with work permits. Also I make a decent salary but I have two kids that are entering the work force and they are having to compete with illegals for jobs. You would have to be a moron to not understand that a glut of cheap or illegal labor depresses wages. Real Americans are starving and going bankrupt because they can't get any kind of job. These people came here illegally and took jobs from real Americans and yes the federal government let it happen. However two wrongs don't make a right.

    July 21, 2010 at 2:10 pm | Report abuse |