At least one federal agency is now involved in the investigation into a mysterious list of the names of 1,300 purported illegal immigrants that was sent to state agencies and news outlets this week in Utah, TPMmuckraker has learned. But, despite the intention of the list-maker, the feds are investigating not the people on the list, but the person who generated it.
The Social Security Administration’s Inspector General received a copy of the list — which includes names, addresses, birth dates and, in 30 cases, Social Security numbers — yesterday, according to spokesman Jonathan Lasher.
“The key question is where the list came from,” Lasher told TPMmuckraker. That, he said, will “dictate what laws, if any, were violated.”
The first step in the IG’s investigation is to match the names with the numbers to see if they’re accurate. From there, agents will decide the next step, including making sure there’s nothing in the agency’s records to suggest that the leak came from the SSA.
The list, which contains almost exclusively Latino names, has sparked fears in Utah’s Hispanic communities. It was sent anonymously by someone claiming to be part of a group; an accompanying letter demands the deportation of everyone on the list.
The U.S. Attorney in Utah may also get involved. The office “will work closely with federal agencies who may be investigating the source of the information,” according to a spokeswoman.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement, while confirming that it has received the list, has refused to comment on whether they are investigating anyone on it. A spokeswoman also declined to say whether ICE received the list several months ago, as this week’s letter claims.
Utah’s Republican governor, Gary Herbert, ordered an investigation among state agencies to find out whether the information came from a state employee.
Because the list includes health-related information — including the due dates of six pregnant women — the investigation is heavily focused on the Office of Workforce Services, which coordinates Medicaid and food stamp services, as well as the health and human services departments.
The governor’s office says the state attorney general will also investigate if there’s an indication of illegal activity.