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4 Mar 2020

Jacinta González, OpenGlobalRights

Commentary: When technology facilitates ICE raids that violate rights, who is responsible?

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On August 7, 2019, 680 undocumented immigrants across Mississippi were arrested in mass raids in food processing plants conducted by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents. Hundreds of families were immediately separated... Palantir, a Silicon Valley company that holds two contracts with ICE, was complicit in these raids... Without tech like Palantir’s, ICE agents would likely arrest, detain, prosecute, and deport far fewer people than they do today. Palantir’s software is used by ICE agents to amass data on individuals who are thereby more easily arrested and separated from their families, detained in inhumane conditions, deported outright, or some combination of all three. Palantir’s software is, therefore, implicated in these human rights violations... Palantir’s technology has been used in targeted border operations that led to family separation and detention, as well as the lengthy detention of children in ICE custody.

... Palantir’s software may also allow cities to skirt “sanctuary city” laws, which forbid local police departments from cooperating with federal immigration agents. Skirting these laws could allow ICE agents to know when immigrants leave jails, for instance, so they can wait outside and arrest them... Accountability will come when Palantir ceases participation in policies that violate human rights, and Palantir will only do so when calls against its complicity—from both inside and outside the company—are overwhelming. We call on others to join us and demand the company cancel its contracts.