Utah Leaders Denounce Immigration Blacklist
SALT LAKE CITY -- A bipartisan coalition of the Utah's Republican Attorney General, the Bishop of Salt Lake City, a Democratic State Senator from Salt Lake City, and other prominent Utah and national leaders gathered on a national telephonic press conference to denounce the immigrant blacklist circulated by the so-called "Concerned Citizens of the United States" and to announce that the Attorney General's office would begin its investigation next week.
"We will begin an immediate aggressive investigation. Beyond the legal nature of this, we condemn, in the strongest possible terms, the generation and dissemination of this list and the spirit behind it," said Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff. "It calls upon a large group of Utahns to observe, watch, and report men, women, pregnant women and children. I want to make it clear that's not the way we do things in Utah. This is not a blacklist, this is a hit list. We call upon the federal government to take the lead on comprehensive immigration reform."
During the press conference, Attorney General Shurtleff discussed the legal ramifications of the list, the potential next steps with the Governors office and the involvement of U.S. Attorneys. The Attorney General indicated that the Governors office would hand over the investigation to the Attorney Generals office today.
Other Utah and national leaders condemned the law and the serious breaches of privacy. "This list has been very shocking and sends a very negative message about the safety of the privacy of every individual in the state of Utah," said State Senator Luz Robles. "This was a very violent and aggressive way to send a message. I think most people not only inUtah but around the country are looking to comprehensive immigration reform from the federal government."
"It seems to me that as a citizen of Utah, if I can feel vulnerable because of this type of action, I can only imagine what some of Utah's immigrants must be feeling and it must be a very difficult time for them," said Bishop John Wester of the Salt Lake Diocese. "This just underscores the need for our federal government to act on comprehensive immigration reform. We can solve this problem."
"This is about us as a people, about who we are as Utahns. We are a welcoming people here in Utah," said Paul Mero, President of the Sutherland Institute, a Utah-based conservative think tank. "This list in Utah is reprehensible. It makes me sick to my stomach, and I know that the good people of Utah won't have anything to do with it. We're for comprehensive reform, not enforcement only. We think comprehensive reform is the true conservative position."
"What happened in Utah is not an immigrant problem or a Latino problem. When private information is compromised every citizen should be concerned. After all, who is next?" said Clarissa Martinez, Director of Immigration and National Campaigns at the National Council of La Raza. "But the failure of our federal government to fix our broken immigration system will continue to unleash misguided actions that terrorize whole communities-we hope this experience compels Utah Senators to deliver the solution our country needs."