Continuing the daily summation of what could lamely be called "Listgate", on Friday July 16th, 2010, Utah Governor Gary Herbert said the investigation has narrowed down to two "rogue" employees within the Division of Workforce Services, the Salt Lake City Council issues a statement in support of illegal alien-sympathizer Chief Chris Burbank, the LDS Church weighs in once again, and a split within the ranks of the Utah Minuteman Project is revealed.
All posts on the "list" available HERE, with the most recent post displaying first.
The Salt Lake Tribune reported that two employees with the Department of Workforce Services (DWS) have been put on leave after an investigation revealed that they apparently accessed records on hundreds of Utah residents to compile a list of 1,300 names of people purportedly in the country illegally. The two workers were escorted from the state office building where they worked and are on administrative leave pending the completion of the full investigation. It has not been determined if their leave is paid or unpaid. In addition, a handful of other employees — somewhere between three and 10 in all — whose behavior has drawn attention will also be included in the ongoing probe.
At the press conference, DWS Executive Director Kristen Cox offered her explanation. "The people we have identified certainly have some strong political opinions and seem to be frustrated with some of the issues around immigration," Cox said. "They understand what the rules are. They understand the protocol. If they want to go rogue, they need to quit the department."
Rhetoric used by Governor Gary Herbert makes it appear that he is actually looking to throw these people under the bus as sacrificial goats. “This tactic by these rogue employees to go out and single out individuals and their families and, in some cases, falsely accusing people of an illegal status is in fact deplorable and is in fact counterproductive to the issue that ought to be the focus, which is the illegal immigration issue,” Gov. Herbert said at the press conference. Gov. Herbert further explained that there are only two databases where information could be accessed about illegal immigrants: a list of those who are receiving prenatal care through Medicaid, and those whose children are U.S. citizens and qualify for food stamps, health care and other assistance. Additional stories on this development published by the Deseret News and KSL Channel 5:
Meanwhile, the growing controversy has triggered a split within the ranks of the Utah Minuteman Project. The Project's founder, Alex Segura, who is not currently an officer within the organization, teamed up with Hispanic extremist Tony Yapias to call for a restoration of civility in the debate over illegal immigration and to denounce the list of names of purported illegal immigrants. The two actually like each other, have often talked, and they manage to be civil — and they called on others to do the same. The pair agreed both sides have been overreacting and are too caustic in remarks. Some Hispanics are too quick to call critics racists or to say that Latinos are being treated like Jews in Nazi Germany. On the flip side, some non-Hispanics are too quick to call all Latinos "illegals" or to post hateful comments online.
However, Segura went even further. He criticized current Minutemen chairman Eli Cawley for praising authors of the list and calling them patriots. Segura said most Minutemen do not advocate anyone breaking the law, and opined that Cawley had spoken too quickly without thinking about consequences this week. Segura even predicted the organization may soon choose new leadership (I wonder if he's "volunteering"?).
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints also tossed in its two cents worth. "The complex issues surrounding immigration are a matter of increasing concern and debate for all in this country," said LDS Church spokesman Michael Purdy in response to Deseret News' questions on immigration issues. "Elected individuals have the primary responsibility to find solutions in the best interests of all whose lives will be impacted by their actions...We repeat our appeal for careful reflection and civil discourse when addressing immigration issues. Finding a successful resolution will require the best thinking and goodwill of all across the political spectrum, the highest levels of statesmanship, and the strongest desire to do what is best for all of God's children." The LDS Church previously issued a statement on July 7th, 2010, reiterating that the Church has not taken a position on immigration laws and reminding the public that LDS elected officials do not speak for the Church.
And finally, in only a partially-related development, the Salt Lake City Council released a letter on July 17th declaring its unanimous support for Salt Lake City Police Chief Chris Burbank’s stance on opposing an Arizona-style immigration bill. “The council unanimously said it agrees that the role of the city’s police department and its officers should be to enforce and uphold the law regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, religion, or sexual orientation,” the letter reads. “The council also said it agrees that having local law enforcement agencies enforce federal immigration laws presents challenges to local police agencies and may ultimately result in unintended consequences including racial profiling, restricted freedom for all individuals, and general mistrust in the community.” Burbank has been strongly criticized, not just because of his equivocal stand on illegal immigrants, but also for the harsh extremist rhetoric he's directed against those who support more enforcement, insinuating that some state lawmakers are "racist" (because the left calls everything racist nowadays, the charge has not only lost its sting, but is actually becoming a virtue so long as one avoids the customary stereotypes).
Reaction: Public reaction, as evidenced from hundreds of comments posted to various media stories, indicates considerable approval for those who released the list, despite the fact that media outlets have found that a few legal residents were mistakenly included on the list. A previous KTVX poll showed that 63.1 percent of respondents believed those responsible for the 'immigration list' should NOT be punished. And a KSL poll still available shows that 57 percent of respondents are at least sympathetic to the action, down from 59 percent earlier.
1. Disturbing and dangerous: 28% (1239 votes)
2. Concerned about privacy, legality: 15% (675 votes)
3. Hope it spurs the government to action: 28% (1255 votes)
4. Anything to get rid of illegal immigrants: 29% (1318 votes)