SALT LAKE CITY — Utah officials are investigating whether eight more state workers may have accessed confidential documents to create a list of 1,300 purported illegal immigrants that was mailed to law enforcement officials and the news media.
Department of Workforce Services spokesman Dave Lewis says the employees were being interviewed Monday. Two other state workers were placed on administrative leave with pay last week.
The department administers food stamp programs and other benefits. State officials have said most of those identified on the list have children who are receiving benefits.
The list that was mailed contains Social Security numbers, birth dates, workplaces, addresses and phone numbers. Names of children are included, along with due dates of pregnant women.
Intentionally releasing a private record in Utah is a misdemeanor punishable by up to six months in jail and a $1,000 fine.
The anonymous mailing that news organizations began receiving last week demands that those on the list be deported, although some named have said they are in the country legally.
The list sent chills through Hispanic community, with many fearing they could be unfairly targeted. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials have acknowledged receiving the list but declined to say whether anyone on it is being investigated.29 comments on this story
Utah Gov. Gary Herbert said Friday he wanted the department to turn over any evidence of wrongdoing to the attorney general's office by Monday, but Lewis said it might take longer.
"We're making progress. We're hoping that we can get through as much of it as we can today, but we want the investigation to end this week. We have to be thorough," Lewis said.
Herbert, a Republican, is preparing to host a public summit on immigration Tuesday. The governor has said he will sign an immigration bill into law next year if he's still in office, but it's unclear how closely that bill might mirror one lawmakers recently passed in Arizona.
Arizona's law, which takes effect July 29, directs police enforcing other laws to determine a suspect's immigration status if there is reason to believe the person is in the U.S. illegally. The Obama administration has sued Arizona to throw out the law and keep other states from copying it.