Anti-Immigrant Vigilante Fear-Mongering in Utah

When immigrants’ rights activists talk about undocumented immigrants “coming out of the shadows” this is not what they had in mind:  a list of 1300 people in Utah purported to be undocumented which was sent to media outlets and law enforcement with demands for its publication and their deportation.

From the NYT:

Each page of the list is headed with the words “Illegal Immigrants” and each entry contains details about the individuals listed — from their address and telephone number to their date of birth and, in the case of pregnant women, their due dates.

The proper way to "come out" (photo via Time.com)

Those responsible call themselves “Concerned Citizens of the United States” and there is an investigation underway to see if the information came from a government agency, given the private nature of the data.

But its the moral, not legal, issues that concern me more. The “Concerned Citizens” are threatening and creepy with their assurance that “We will be listening and watching” (apparently they didn’t read or didn’t understand the message of 1984). They claim that their information is culled thusly (Time)

We … 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 to add them to our list

Great. So they add a healthy dose of paranoia, trying to make the latino community think they have traitors in their midst; a rather lame attempt at divide and conquer tactics as I doubt many would believe that, but a vicious intention nonetheless.

Then somehow the list leakers try to take the moral high road by asserting that “We are not violent, nor do we support violence.” Sure they are.  They just enable others to be. Because, on the off chance that there was anyone, anyone at all, in Utah who is feeling violent towards immigrants, they would have given those people the home addresses of purported “illegals”, opening the door for acts of harassment, vandalism or potentially much worse. Luckily, the list has not, as of yet, been published.

Video of a recent press conference of latino leaders in Utah makes their well-deserved outrage clear. One representative, Peggy Wilson, called the list “gestapo-esque”, fitting for the population wide fear this has the power to induce.

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