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updated 7/13/2010 11:19:42 PM ET 2010-07-14T03:19:42

A list containing the names and personal information of 1,300 people an anonymous group contends are illegal immigrants has been mailed around Utah, terrifying the state's Hispanic community.

Republican Gov. Gary Herbert wrote in a tweet Tuesday that he has asked state agencies to investigate the list — sent anonymously to several media outlets, and law enforcement and state agencies. A letter accompanying the list demands that those on it be deported immediately.

Most of the names on the list are of Hispanic origin. The list also contains highly detailed personal information such as Social Security numbers, birth dates, workplaces, addresses and phone numbers. Names of children are included, along with due dates of pregnant women on the list.

"My phone has been ringing nonstop since this morning with people finding out they're on the list," said Tony Yapias, former director of the Utah Office of Hispanic Affairs. "They're feeling terrorized. They're very scared."

Arizona copycat law in works
The list's release comes as several conservative Utah lawmakers consider sponsoring a tough new illegal immigration law similar to the one passed recently in Arizona.

Arizona's law, which takes effect July 29, directs police enforcing other laws to ask about a suspect's immigration status if there is reason to believe the person is in the United States illegally.

Herbert has said a new immigration law likely will be passed when lawmakers convene in January, although he said it may be different from Arizona's. Herbert spokeswoman Angie Welling was traveling back from Washington, D.C., Tuesday and could not immediately be reached for comment.

The letter included a long recipient list, including newspapers, broadcast outlets, The Associated Press, law enforcement and state agencies, various Utah officials, and the Immigration and Customs Enforcement office in Salt Lake City. The letters began arriving in mailboxes in recent days.

State agency cheks 'how's, why's'
Dave Lewis, communication director for the state Department of Workforce Services, said his agency didn't receive a copy of the list from the governor's office until late Tuesday.

"We've got some people in our technology department looking at it right now," he said. "It's a high priority. We want to figure out the how's and why's."

He said his agency is one of several with access to the information included in the list.

The letter says some names on the list were sent to the ICE office in Salt Lake City in April. It says the new list includes new names, for a total of more than 1,300.

Included with the new letter is one dated April 4 addressed to "Customs and Immigration" and from "Concerned Citizens of the United States."

In the April letter, the writers say their group "observes these individuals in our neighborhoods, driving on our streets, working in our stores, attending our schools and entering our public welfare buildings."

"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 to add them to our list," the letter says.

Agency spokeswoman Virginia Kice said ICE received a copy of the list, but she declined to say whether it is investigating the immigration status of the people on it.

"As a matter of policy, we don't confirm we are investigating an allegation or possible violation unless the inquiry results in some type of public enforcement action," Kice said.

She noted that because ICE has finite resources, it focuses its efforts "first on those dangerous convicted criminal aliens who present the greatest risk to the security of our communities, not sweeps or raids to target undocumented immigrants indiscriminately."

Kice added that the agency has had a means for the public to report suspected criminal activity for several years — a 24-hour tip line staffed by trained enforcement personnel.

© 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Video: Low approval of federal suit against immigration law

  1. Closed captioning of: Low approval of federal suit against immigration law

    >>> obama's administration lawsuit is not getting high marks with the public.

    >> here to debut the new numbers is ron brown , political director for atlantic media and columnist with "the national journal ." you have interesting figures. start with the immigration lawsuit, the first looks we have had at how the public is reacting to the federal government 's lawsuit over arizona law and what does it show?

    >> weekly congressional connection poll. 45% of the public opposes the lawsuit. only 36% support it. in line with other polls that have shown basically support for the law, stark racial disparity on the poll.

    >> not surprising.

    >> on the suit. much more support of non-whites. among whites, only 31% support the suit. 50% oppose it. another cleavage along the lines of age. older the voter, the older the respondent, likely to oppose the suit and support the law. so, not a strong position for the administration overall on the decision to move ahead and kind of reflects the anxiety of governors the other day.

    >> you also poll the health care law and been a number you have been tracking throughout on this poll.

    >> yes.

    >> similar racial divide here. sort of non-whites, very supportive of the law, much more patient with it. whites, not so much.

    >> among mirror image . very similar finding as on the immigration. 35% say they're basically approve of it. 47% disapprove. among non-whites, almost two to one support. 28% don't approve. among whites, 29% approve. 55% don't.

    >> isn't that a reflection of democratic politics, democratic demographics?

    >> the non-white support certainly is a reflection of that but seeing in the white electorate is going on. they have grown increasingly skeptical anything the government does is going to benefit them. i think we are averting back to the -- only portion of the white electorate that's shown an appetite for college-educated white women . everyone else, they're all deeply skeptical right now of government. you see that in this poll. 30% or less support for the health care law among those three groups. only college white women at 40% or above.

    >> bring this to november as we were talking about it. we have turned everybody it seems in this town turned the page and focused on the campaign. this gets to the enthusiasm divide with heavy white support of republican side of the aisle. the enthusiasm gap is huge. and these, while the president's policies has support among hispanics, african-americans, young voters. none of them are enthusiastic of voting.

    >> they fall off in the mird term. especially young voters. from presidential to midterm, there's a sharp fall i can't have of young voters. midterm than presidential. and older and whiter is a tough group. white 65 and above in the poll, only 23% support the immigration suit. only 29% support the health care law so the older, whiter, electorate, the most skeptical of the obama agenda and performance and they're a group more likely to vote and play a larger role in the midterm than presidential.

    >> on the house districts and very white house district that is are in play.

    >> absolutely. i mean, there are more minority heavy districts than there used to be. democrats have a bigger cushion and enough blue collar districts for a real threat and that's where the president's program and the president's performance receives the most negative reviews.

    >> ron brown steen, thank you

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