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Governor: State systems breached to produce immigrant list

Posted - Jul. 15, 2010 at 9:45 p.m.



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SALT LAKE CITY -- An investigation into the origins of a 29-page list of 1,300 purported illegal immigrants is zeroing in on a database from the state Department of Workforce Services.


It's a little ironic that somebody is most likely breaking the law under the guise of protecting the law.

–Angie Welling, governor's office


Almost as soon as the list came out, it appeared the information in it could only come from a state database. Now it appears that Gov. Gary Herbert ordered investigation into all state agencies has paid off.

"What we're seeing now is the data on that list is contained entirely in the DWS database," the governor's spokeswoman, Angie Welling, said Thursday.

The list consists of people with Latino surnames and includes names, addresses, phone numbers and some Social Security numbers and private health information, like due dates of babies.

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It was anonymously sent to news media, law enforcement and other government officials, demanding people on the list be deported. Some on the list say they are in the United States legally.

Even in the computer age, there are clues left behind. State investigators are finding them, and getting closer to figuring out who put together that now-infamous list.

"It's a little ironic that somebody is most likely breaking the law under the guise of protecting the law," Welling said.

That is especially true if that person is a state worker with DWS, trained to keep that type of information private.

"We expect people to be professional and use common sense, and this may be a violation of both of those standards," said DWS spokesman David Lewis.

"We have a team of 10 people dedicated full time," Lewis said. "We've pulled them off their full-time jobs, and now this is their full-time job, to investigate this until we find out what's behind it and who's behind it.

Lewis also said a DWS employee admitted to her supervisor Thursday that she was behind the call to a Latino community leader recently, in which she berated him and illegals. The woman, however, has not been linked to the list.

"No, she didn't indicate that. But through the course of the investigation it may be an unfortunate incident where we have a case of somebody who's expressing their personal opinion, and she gets caught up in the investigation," Lewis said.

Lewis could not say whether the woman is on leave or probation; he just said DWS will have to investigate her as a precaution.

Meanwhile, Gov. Herbert is planning an immigration discussion next week with law enforcement leaders, churches, minority groups and others to talk about immigration reform.

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Story compiled with contributions from Alex Cabrero and John Daley.

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