Microsoft issues statement distancing itself from ICE’s separation of children from parents

Cornelia Mascio
Giugno 20, 2018

Meanwhile, the technology company Microsoft is facing threats of a boycott over its collaboration with ICE, the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency.

While Microsoft issued a statement Monday that said it does not agree with policy that separates families at the U.S. -Mexico border and its contract is unelated, a company spokesperson declined to state whether facial recognition software was among tools being used by ICE as part of its Azure Government contract, Gizmodo reported. Microsoft then told Bloomberg the deletion was a "mistake" and that section was restored.

As stated in the letter, ICE has a $19.4 million contract with Microsoft to use its cloud computing service Azure, for data processing and machine learning.

While keeping to the rather neutral tones of such canned statements, Microsoft made it clear that it's not in favour of separating immigrants from their children at U.S. borders.

MICROSOFT HAS COME UNDER FIRE from its own employees for its dealings with the Immigration and Customs Enforcemen (ICE), which has harsh policies including separating children from parents. It also urged the Trump administration to change that policy.

Other tech companies have been criticized for their working relationships with the government.

Federal agencies involved with immigration have been under particularly heavy scrutiny recently as more aggressive policies have been implemented at the direction of the Trump administration, like confining kids in cages, separating kids from their families, and deporting parents before their kids have been released from confinement.

Microsoft President Brad Smith posted a wide-ranging blog about US immigration late Tuesday night, addressing attempts by Congress to halt the separation of children from their families.

His post called on Congress to improve security at the border while also remembering the "fundamental decency and humanitarian spirit that defines us as a people and a nation". "We will continue to have this dialogue both within our company and with our stakeholders outside".

The letter demands Microsoft "cancel its contracts" with ICE, as well as those with clients who support the law enforcement agency's work.

"I'm very hopeful that our leadership will hear us and they will respond the right way - they will do the right thing", said one employee who signed Tuesday's letter.

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