A statewide coalition is calling on Bay Area cities and counties to protect the privacy of immigrants by boycotting tech companies that provide data sharing services to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
By Tatiana Sanchez
The Deport ICE coalition wants governments to adopt its Sanctuary City Contracting and Investing Ordinance, which would prohibit them from investing or contracting with companies that provide “data broker” or “extreme vetting” services to ICE unless there is no alternative.
Richmond’s city council approved the ordinance in June and Oakland and Berkeley are considering the policy this month, according to the coalition of immigrants rights groups. The coalition plans to approach San Jose officials in the coming weeks and San Francisco later this year.
The policy comes as the local immigration debate shifts toward several prominent tech companies — including Palo Alto’s Palantir Technologies, Vigilant Solutions in Livermore and Amazon, which have been criticized for contracting with federal immigration agencies. Last week, advocates descended on Salesforce’s annual conference in San Francisco with an 14-foot-tall cage symbolizing ICE detention to protest the company’s contract with Customs and Border Protection. More than 600 employees signed a letter this summer calling on CEO Marc Benioff to end the contract. Benioff has said the company does not work with ICE.
“As we get more and more cities on board it starts to add up…and hopefully we get these guys to back away from ICE,” said Brian Hofer of Deport ICE, who is also chairman of the Oakland Privacy Commission. “We just want to get regional buy-in power.”
ICE on Wednesday said it would continue routine operations and declined to comment further.