In Utah, self-proclaimed defenders of the Constitution and the country have compiled a list of some 1300 individuals, all of whom they claim are here illegally. The "Concerned Citizens of the United States" have sent this list - along with a letter - to ICE and several other governmental agencies. In the letter, which sounds like something written by a self-important 12 year old, they demand that the respective authorities take "immediate and forceful action to the individuals on this list and begin deportation now." And they offer these words of warning: They "will be listening and watching."
The list goes beyond names. It includes a wealth of other personal information:
The list released publicly includes birthdates, phone numbers and addresses for everyone on the list. For some, it has Social Security numbers it says people are using. It includes the exact due dates for several pregnant women. The names of many children are included. - Deseret News, Salt Lake City
Given the sheer detail involved, the most logical explanation is that the information was obtained from either an official state database or a medical records database. The bottom line is that someone, likely a Utah state employee, obtained this information, through illegal means, and has provided it to elements of the radical, anti-immigrant faction.
The goal, quite obviously, is a simple one: Instill fear; create a panic in the Hispanic community, then Hispanic immigrants - legal and illegal alike - will leave town. And the tone of the letter suggests a fundamentally flawed view how government works; of the protections contained in our Constitution; of bedrock American principles. Although the radical right, the militias, and the Teabaggers are all fond of screaming about upholding the Constitution, it has become apparent that none of them actually know what the Constitution says or means. Apparently, the Concerned Citizens of the United States are unfamiliar with the concept of due process. In their view, the Constitution creates no bar to ICE immediately deporting all 1300 people on the Utah list, based solely on the representation that they are all here illegally.
This is one respect in which all elements of the fringe right are strangely consistent: (1) All of them profess to speak for America (2) All of them believe the government should immediately cede to their demands and implement their chosen policies and (3) All of them claim to have the Constitution on their side. `But perhaps that's fitting. On the hard right, the Constitution only matters when it can be used for protecting gun rights or states' rights or religion. But certainly not when it protects Mexicans.
In the weeks and months to come, we will likely hear tell of more lists. More late night phone calls to Hispanic residents, warning them to leave town... or else. And if the vigilantes' demands are not met, what then? Will they start taking steps to physically remove pregnant Hispanic women from the country?
Here's a radical idea: For the folks in Utah who are so fond of making lists, maybe they should compile a list of those Utah-based companies that illegally hire undocumented immigrants, exploit them as cheap labor, and turn a hefty profit at their expense. But perhaps that's too much to ask, as it would require standing up to big business. And nobody on the radical right wants to do something like that.