ACLU backs campaign to end tech company contracts with immigration enforcement

ACLU backs campaign to end tech company contracts with immigration enforcement
© YouTube/ACLU

The American Civil Liberties Union on Wednesday threw its weight behind a campaign aimed at pressuring tech companies to stop selling products to immigration enforcement agencies.

The No Tech For ICE campaign, led by progressive Latinx organization Mijente, pushes for the country's biggest tech companies and software providers to cut off ties with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Customs and Border Protection (CBP.)

The ACLU on Wednesday specifically highlighted Thomson Reuters and Reed Elsevier's data work with immigration agencies, given the group's reliance on their Westlaw and LexisNexis databases for their legal work.

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"Thomson Reuters and Reed Elsevier embody the burgeoning contradictions of technology companies that, in the same breath, claim to be in the business of public service, while they are enabling government agencies to engage in wildly unconstitutional tactics to arrest and incarcerate people in deadly conditions," Vasudha Talla, the Immigrant's Rights program director at the ACLU of Northern California, wrote in a blog post.

"Conducting legal research that is critical to advancing our clients’ interests should be free of any concern that those tools are also being used to target, arrest, and subject our clients to life-threatening conditions."

Progressive groups, activists and even tech workers have heaped pressure on the industry to end partnerships with the law enforcement and the U.S. government recently.

Amazon workers asked the company's web services to stop hosting software firm Palantir over its contract with ICE in 2018, and the company faced enormous pushback following reports that it met with ICE officials to pitch them on buying the tech giant's controversial facial recognition technology. 

Thousands of protesters that same year also pushed Salesforce to end its contracts with CBP over the administration's policy separating migrant families.