Latino and Civil Rights Orgs Say Human Rights of Utah Immigrants Clearly Violated

AP Photo/Gregory Bull

Organizations like MALDEF and the ACLU are speaking out against the violation of privacy rights and state and local law that recently occurred in Utah. Last week, an anonymous group compiled a list of names and personal information of 1,300 residents—who are supposedly undocumented Latino immigrants—and mailed it to media outlets, law enforcement and state agencies demanding these individuals be deported immediately.

Thomas A. Saenz, MALDEF President and General Counsel, issued a statement condemning the actions of the list’s creators. “This cowardly anonymous submission surely represents a new low; it demonstrates complete disrespect for the constitutional and human rights values that our nation has represented,” he said. 

Karen McCreary, ACLU of Utah Executive Director, echoed Saenz’s sentiment. “The anonymous compiling of personal information and the watchful, spying eyes of vigilante groups is cowardly and antithetical to long-established American ideals of liberty and individual sovereignty,” she said.

The state of Utah is currently investigating the list and its origins; but both organizations say the state needs to take it a step further and propose changes for the investigation process. 

The ACLU "commends the swift action of Governor Herbert and Attorney General Shurtleff in responding to investigate," said McCreary, but it also recognizes "the government must do a better job of restricting access to and protecting databases containing such highly personal information."

According to Saenz, MALDEF is pushing for a more comprehensive investigation that would involve the federal government in order to prosecute those responsible for the list and protect the immigrants whose privacy has been compromised.

Ultimately, Saenz says that combating violations of human and civil rights depends on a collaborative effort.  "As a nation and a people, we must resoundingly reject divisive and discriminatory actions like this."

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