Employees and grassroots groups demand tech companies to cut ties with ICE and CBP

"We will hold any corporation accountable for their role in advancing Trump's violence against our communities..."

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Image Credit: Gregory Bull/AP Photo

With employees already taking a stand against complicity, technology companies are feeling the heat as grassroots groups demand they end government contracts with federal immigration agencies and stop enabling the Trump administration’s “zero-tolerance policy.” Companies such as Salesforce, Microsoft, Thomson Reuters, Hewlett Packard, Motorola and Dell all have contracts with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) or Customs and Border Protection (CBP).

Numerous employees at Microsoft and Salesforce signed an open letter “saying they do not want to be part of building software used to target immigrant families.”

In January, Microsoft announced it was working with the federal government to provide ICE with “a program featuring facial recognition software, which has fueled concerns that that company is directly aiding immigration agents in detaining undocumented people,” Common Dreams reported.

After public outcry over the Trump administration’s policy of separating migrant children from their families started last month, “more than 100 Microsoft employees demanded that the company immediately cut ties with ICE,” saying they refuse to be “complicit,” Common Dreams reported.

“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, a senior campaigner at SumOfUs, said. “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.

Now grassroots groups are echoing the message sent from employees of several of these technology companies demanding they stop enabling and profiting “from a violent and murderous mass incarceration and deportation scheme,” Scott Roberts, senior campaign director for Color of Change, said.

“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,” Roberts said.

Many petitions started by several of these grassroots groups already have upwards of 100,000 signatures and they plan to fight this until the end.

“Technology can be used to protect or violate human rights,” Jelani Drew from Fight for the Future said. “Companies like Microsoft and Salesforce have chosen to use their services to violate them all while saying they care about human rights.”

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