As American cities and corporations face mounting public pressure to cancel contracts with federal immigration agencies in light of the Trump administration's brutal and inhumane border policies, grassroots groups are demanding major technology companies stop allowing the government to use their data technologies against vulnerable immigrant and refugee communities.
"Tech companies contracting with ICE and CBP, including Microsoft, Salesforce, Thomson Reuters, Hewlett Packard, Motorola, and Dell are all complicit in and profiting from a violent and murderous mass incarceration and deportation scheme."
—Scott Roberts, Color of Change
Collectively, petitions created by Fight for the Future, SumOfUs, Center for Media Justice, Presente.org, Demand Progress, Color of Change, Defending Rights and Dissent, and The Nation which demand tech companies stop enabling Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) as well as Customs and Border Protection (CBP) have already garnered more than 100,000 signatures.
"Tech companies contracting with ICE and CBP, including Microsoft, Salesforce, Thomson Reuters, Hewlett Packard, Motorola, and Dell are all complicit in and profiting from a violent and murderous mass incarceration and deportation scheme," explained Scott Roberts, senior campaign director at Color of Change.
"Technology can be used to protect or violate human rights," noted Jelani Drew of Fight for the Future. "Companies like Microsoft and Salesforce have chosen to use their services to violate them all while saying they care about human rights."
Pointing specifically to the Trump administration's so-called "zero tolerance" policy, which empowered federal immigration officials to separate more than 2,000 children from their asylum-seeking parents and detain them several states apart, Drew added, "The trauma of family separation will run deep for the children and families involved and big tech companies play a huge part in that."
Emphasizing that "the act of separating and detaining families would not be possible without the massive bureaucratic and logistical machine behind it," Roberts declared, "We will hold any corporation accountable for their role in advancing Trump's violence against our communities, and we will not stop they until heed the call of thousands of tech workers and people directly impacted by this crisis."
.@Microsoft continues to work with ICE, enabling their dehumanizing practices targeting immigrants of color. Demand they drop the contract now and help #AbolishICE: https://t.co/K03fqFU1bB #CanceltheContract #BlackLivesMatter #FreeOurFuture
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— Center for Media Justice (@mediajustice) July 3, 2018
As Fight for the Future acknowledged in a statement, "the groups' demands echo those led by employees at Microsoft, Salesforce, and Amazon whom have signed on to open letters saying that they do not want to be part of building software used to target immigrant families."
"The Trump administration's attack on children and families is unconscionable and Microsoft's failure to act in the face of these glaring human rights abuses is beyond disturbing."
—Reem Suleiman, SumOfUs
Microsoft, as Common Dreams has reported, announced in January that it is providing ICE with a progam featuring facial recognition software, which has fueled concerns that that company is directly aiding immigration agents in detaining undocumented people.
Last month, amid outrage over the family separation policy, more than 100 Microsoft employees demanded that the company immediately cut ties with ICE, proclaiming in an open letter, "we refuse to be complicit."
"The Trump administration's attack on children and families is unconscionable and Microsoft's failure to act in the face of these glaring human rights abuses is beyond disturbing," concluded Reem Suleiman, a senior campaigner at SumOfUs. "Microsoft must honor the demands of its own employees and thousands of people across the country calling on the company to drop its contract with ICE. Otherwise, it will forever be remembered as the tech company that powered Trump's brutal policy of family separation and detention."