List claims to expose illegal immigrants in Utah

List claims to expose illegal immigrants in Utah

SALT LAKE CITY (ABC 4 News) - The list came in the mail with no return address. It is full of details. One officer called it "all you would need to steal an identity." But others see a much bigger threat from the list.
SALT LAKE CITY (ABC 4 News) - A mailing claims to expose more 1,300 people living in Utah as illegal immigrants and demands their deportation. The list was sent anonymously to politicians, law enforcement and the news media. It not only contains names, but also birthdays, addresses, phone numbers and in a few cases, social security numbers.

The list includes both adults and children and even notes that a handful of women are pregnant. The letter that accompanied the list comments, "some of the women on the list are pregnant at this time and steps should be taken for immediate deportation."

The letter is from a group that calls itself "Concerned Citizens of the United States" but has no return address and no contact information. In fact, there is nothing in the letter or on the envelope that would further identify who is behind CCUS.

The letter begins, "We are enclosing a list of individuals who we strongly believe are in this county illegally." But it does not say why the group believes they are here illegally. Tony Yapias, a voice of the Latino community who also served under Governors Leavitt and Walker, told ABC 4 News, "Molina, Rodriguez, Lauro, Ramirez, Villanueva, Lopez, Bernal. That's racial profiling. What did they do? They went by the surnames."

Salt Lake County Sheriff Jim Winder was one of those who received the list. He said other than the Hispanic surnames, he also found nothing in the list that comes close to substantiating the claim. ""These are individuals who have no ability to defend themselves from the accusation," said Sheriff Winder. "We live in a country of laws. I, for one, would not want to be branded with something without some sort of due process and that is what this seems to be."

A spokeswoman for Salt Lake City Police Chief Chris Burbank confirms that the list also showed up Monday in his mail box. But she said Chief Burbank was out of town this week and would not be available to comment.

The letter was originally sent to "Customs and Immigration" on April 4, 2010. A spokeswoman for Immigration and Customs Enforcement, a part of the US Department of Homeland Security, confirmed receipt of the list "a couple months back" but would not say if ICE had taken any action on it. Other law enforcement sources tell ABC 4 News that at most, ICE agents would check the list against existing "wants and warrants" and follow up only if they found a match.

Such a response may not have been good enough for CCUS which has now sent the list to a wider group of Utah officials as well as newspaper, radio and television stations.

Yapias said the group may claim to be non-violent, but he doesn't believe it. "To me, they're terrorists," He said. "They have just terrorized 12-hundred families."

Yapias believes the detailed information could only have come from a confidential government database. "It seems to me that it's from someone in state government that has access to all types of information."

Sheriff Winder said he will have his investigators look into that allegation. If the information did come from a government database, it may well have violated state privacy laws.

"These folks, I'm sure, are defenders of the constitution. We all are defenders of the constitution," explained Sheriff Winder. "The constitution says innocent until proven guilty."

ABC 4 extends an invitation to whoever is behind the list to come out of hiding and to explain the origin of the list.
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