Building on the momentum of several new anti-immigrant laws, a Utah group called Concerned Citizens of the United States released a list of 1,300 allegedly “illegal” residents, identifying the individuals by name with the purpose of ostracizing and intimidating them and their families. Reports the New York Times:
Each page of the list is headed with the words “Illegal Immigrants” and each entry contains details about the individuals listed — from their address and telephone number to their date of birth and, in the case of pregnant women, their due dates. The letter was received by law enforcement and media outlets on Monday and Tuesday. A spokeswoman for Gov. Gary R. Herbert said Wednesday that an investigation was under way to see if state employees might have been involved in releasing the private information.
Accompanying this invasive list was a memorandum recommending deportation proceedings against the allegedly undocumented persons and pushing for the news media to publish the names of the specified individuals. The NY Times reports that those identified on the list have largely responded with shock that so much of their personal information had been collected and disseminated, fear for the safety of their families, and thoughts of leaving the country due to such pervasive anti-immigrant bias.
In fact the notion that state employees may have released the data for this list reveals how entrenched racism can be in many institutions that are meant to help the most disadvantaged folks in their communities. Another disconcerting aspect of this report, though, is this excerpt from the letter:
We then spend the time and effort needed to gather information along with legal Mexican nationals who infiltrate their social networks and help us obtain the necessary information we need.
The notion that the CCUS is recruiting Latino allies to gain access to the private information of hundreds of individuals in insidious ways is disturbing. I hope that law enforcement officials take this letter seriously, as it represents a severe breach of privacy for hundreds of fearful individuals.
By Nicole Catá, Policy Intern