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The controversy over the list of 1,300 suspected illegal immigrants sent to law enforcement agencies, news outlets, and the legislature in Utah continues to bubble. The Utah media is covering this story like a blanket; I have attempted to incorporate the highlights from as many sources as possible. Here are the two most significant developments from July 15th, 2010:
It now appears as if investigators are zeroing in on the Department of Workforce Services as the most likely source of the list. Angie Welling, the spokeswoman for Governor Gary Herbert, said the data on the list is contained entirely within the DWS database. DWS spokesman David Lewis said that whoever leaked the list may have breached DWS standards of professionalism and common sense. And Lewis has deployed a team of 10 people, pulling them off their full-time jobs, until they uncover the perpetrator from among a contingent of 1,400 workers. Lewis also said a DWS employee, who is Hispanic, admitted to her supervisor on Thursday July 15th that she was behind the call to a Latino community leader (Tony Yapias) recently, in which she berated him and illegals, but the woman has not been linked to the list. Lewis could not say whether the woman is on leave or probation; he just said DWS will have to investigate her as a precaution.
Angie Welling said the identity of the individual or individuals should be available within the next few days and the case likely will be passed to the Utah Attorney General’s Office by Monday. Paul Murphy, spokesman for Attorney General Mark Shurtleff, said attorneys will review the information and decide whether to pursue the case. Intentionally releasing a private record in Utah is a misdemeanor punishable by up to six months in jail and a $1,000 fine. If someone stole such a record, it could be prosecuted as a felony with a penalty punishable by up to five years in prison and a $5,000 fine. But there is a whistleblower defense in the law if the individual who violates the law believes he or she is exposing government corruption.
The second major development is reaction from the organized Hispanic community. Several of the Hispanic leaders reacted very hyperbolically, using terms like "Gestapo-esque", "domestic terrorism", and "psychological terrorism" to describe the perceived impact upon the Hispanic community (these clowns wouldn't last five minutes with the real Gestapo). The Hispanic leaders are calling for a transparent investigation from the governor's office looking into who authored the list. Archie Archuleta, president of the Utah Coalition of La Raza, said he appreciated the governor's swift action and investigation into the list, but he criticized Herbert's tone, describing it as "vacillating". Daniel Argueta of the extremist Brown Berets seemed to back that assertion, while Ernie Gamanal of the Utah Democratic Hispanic Caucus is demanding an investigation by the Department of Justice to determine if a "civil rights" violation occurred.
But once again, as usual, it was Tony Yapias who made the most noise. Yapias has set up a phone bank that's getting calls from concerned residents at all hours of the day. Yapias said he's received e-mails calling him a filthy traitor and saying illegals should be scared for their life. It was also pointed out a quarter of illegal immigrants in Utah are not Hispanic, but nearly all the surnames on the list are Hispanic.
And finally, in an odd development, a man who identified himself as former Salt Lake mayoral candidate Robert Muscheck phoned the Deseret News on Thursday to claim that he is the one who compiled the list of 1,300 illegal immigrants sent to the news media and law enforcement. However, when the Deseret News visited Muscheck's apartment, the man who several neighbors identified as Muscheck denied that identity and walked away from a reporter twice. He also threatened to file charges for harassment if the reporter kept trying to contact him. The Deseret News notified the Utah Attorney General's office about the claim it received that Muscheck compiled the list. Muscheck got 14 votes in the 2007 mayoral election; one of his campaign promises was to cross-deputize Salt Lake City police officers as immigration agents.
Additional Utah media stories not referenced above:
-- "Latino community voices outrage over 'The List'", KTVX Channel 4 (includes video)
-- "Breach found: It was Workforce Services", KTVX Channel 4
-- "Continuing Coverage On The Alleged 'Illegal Immigrant' List", KUTV Channel 2 (with video)
-- "'Illegal immigrant’ list breach identified", Provo Daily Herald