Estimated read time: 3-4 minutes
This archived news story is available only for your personal, non-commercial use. Information in the story may be outdated or superseded by additional information. Reading or replaying the story in its archived form does not constitute a republication of the story.
SALT LAKE CITY -- The state of Utah is investigating up to eight more people who may have been involved in the creation of a list of 1,300 alleged undocumented immigrants. That's in addition to two state workers investigators were already looking into last week.
DWS continues internal investigation
A spokesman with the state Department of Workforce Services said his office would turn over the names and information about the first two suspects to the Attorney General's Office by Monday night, but the attorney general says that hasn't happened yet.
Meanwhile, investigators with DWS are also looking into other employees who have also accessed the private, personal information of some of the people on the list.
"Questions have come up: How large is this group? Is it 20, 30, 50, 500 people? Who are involved?" DWS spokesman Dave Lewis said. "But out of a workforce of 2,000 people, there are less than 10 people that we're talking to. These 10 may not necessarily be suspects, but we just want to take a look, talk to them; they may very well have a business reason for having accessed certain cases."
Federal government says it's not using the list
As state investigators work to determine how many people were behind the creation of the list, a top federal immigration official said Monday that his agency isn't actively using the list.
The director of the federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency was asked about the list at a press conference in Virginia.
"We're investigating the circumstances of how the list was received at ICE, but at this point there doesn't appear to be any indication that the list was used in any way to conduct an investigation or an enforcement action," said ICE director John Morton.
The list includes the names, phone numbers, addresses, as well as some social security numbers and even the due dates of expectant mothers.
Latino community groups working to ease fears
Leaders of the group Proyecto Latino de Utah say they've been deluged with phone calls, e-mails and text messages since last week. They say they've taken roughly 2,000 calls in all from people wanting to know if they're on the list.
"Actually when you tell them they are not, oh, they are so excited. They are like, ‘Oh, thank you!' It's a huge relief for them," said Dian Leon, volunteer at Proyecto Latino de Utah.
"When they are they are [on the list]," Leon continued. "[They're] like, 'Oh, what should I do now? What's going on after all this?' You know, so we're just telling them to stay calm."
List getting international attention
Meanwhile, the story continues to generate national and international interest.
Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff appeared on CNN Monday morning to discuss the story. He said the case could involve charges on several fronts.
"Well, there are strong rules, and actually crimes if a state employee who is entrusted with protecting the privacy rights of individuals breaches that trust," Shurtleff said. "In addition, there are state privacy laws, there are potentially federal privacy laws, some of which could rise to the level of felony- type crimes."
Gov. Gary Herbert's office also said it has contacted by the BBC, as well as news outlets as far afield as France and Russia for comment on the story.