Federal officials in Salt Lake City are contacting Arab-Americans and Iraqi nationals living in Utah as part of a stepped-up national security effort.
The attention focuses on potential terrorism and possible civil rights abuses against Arab-Americans, said James T. Screen, special agent in Salt Lake City with the FBI.Meryl Rogers, agent in charge of the Immigration and Naturalization Service in Salt Lake City, has been quoted as saying there are about 150 Iraqi nationals living in Utah the INS is keeping track of. But Rogers refused to confirm or correct that number Wednesday. His secretary said INS would not respond to any questions about the agency's policies or practices for tracking Iraqi nationals in the state.
The INS monitors foreign nationals in the United States on school or temporary visiting or work visas.
Screen said the FBI is conducting a number of interviews with Arab Americans, including Iraqis and Iraqi nationals, to advise them to contact the FBI if they experience civil rights abuses because of their nationality.
Interviews are being conducted according to a priority schedule Screen said he could not detail specifically.
The FBI is also asking Utah Arabs to contact the agency if they become aware of any terroristic problems.