Earlier this month, several state employees submitted a list to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) of 1,300 Hispanic residents of Utah assumed to be in the United States unlawfully. Utah leaders, including Governor Gary Herbert and Attorney General Mark Shurtleff, were quick to condemn the release of private data and began an investigation into state employees implicated with development of the list. The state employees worked for the Utah Department of Workforce Services (DWS) which administers a wide range of benefits programs. The creation of the blacklist involved a breach of government databases and exposed personal information including names, Social Security numbers, home addresses, phone numbers, as well as the due dates of pregnant women. Individuals included on the list could have included U.S. residents, legal permanent residents, and U.S. citizen children.

The inappropriate release of sensitive information has created a chilling effect nationwide among residents who are now afraid to seek out benefits that they or their children may be entitled to. Over 126 organizations and community leaders recently submitted a letter to Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano to urge that a public statement be issued to reject the Utah blacklist and a commitment be made not to rely on the information provided to pursue any immigration enforcement actions.