An anonymous group in Utah calling itself "Concerned Citizens of the United States" has compiled a list of 1,300 alleged illegal immigrants—including their birth dates, workplaces, and social security numbers. "Begin deportation now," the accompanying letter instructs.
On Tuesday, government agencies like Immigrations and Customs Enforcement, along with Utah news media like the Mormon mouthpiece Deseret News, received a list of 1,300 names, mostly Hispanic in origin, and identifying information: Not just birthdays and phone numbers, but social security numbers, names of children, and, in a particularly sinister touch, due dates for some pregnant women on the list.
"Our group observes these people in our neighborhoods, driving on our streets, working in our stores, attending our schools and entering our public welfare buildings," the letter reads. "We then spend the time and effort needed to gather information along with legal Mexican nationals who infiltrate their social networks and help us obtain the necessary information we need."
"We plan to provide your office with new lists on a continual basis and request—no insist—that your agency take immediate and forceful action to the individuals on this list and begin deportation now."
The private information contained on the list indicates that one of its compilers could be a government employee, with access to Utah Department of Health or other state databases that would have information like due dates. Governor Gary Herbert has said the state is doing an internal investigation.
I'm not sure that it's worth trying to disentangle all the different fucked-up impulses that go into this kind of small-scale do-it-yourself police-state project, but there might be nothing more American than getting ginned up over imagined enemies, creating lists of "undesirables" and intimidating minorities. Say what you will about this country; we've always been pretty good at combining "terrifying" with "stupid."
[Deseret News; pic, of an undocumented immigrant caught two miles north of the border in Arizona, via Getty]