NEW YORK — A growing coalition of advocacy groups representing more than 7 million people is demanding that Microsoft cancel its contract with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and stop providing operational support for violence against immigrant families.
Earlier this year, Microsoft boasted that Azure — its cloud-computing service with deep-learning capabilities to accelerate facial recognition and identification — was “mission critical” to ICE. In response to disturbing reports of widespread human-rights abuses by ICE agents, including family separation and sexual assault, more than 300,000 people have signed a petition led by Color Of Change and supported by members of the Center for Media Justice, CREDO Action, Daily Kos, Demand Progress, Fight for the Future, Free Press Action Fund, Jobs With Justice, Mijente, MPower Change, The Nation, Presente.org and SumOfUs.
The coalition will hold a joint press conference and petition delivery at 1:30 p.m. PDT at Microsoft’s Redmond campus on July 26 to show solidarity with more than 500 employees at Microsoft who have signed an open letter to CEO Satya Nadella expressing concern that the products of their labor are being used for violence against migrants and calling for an end to the contract. There will also be solidarity protests at Microsoft stores and offices across the country today.
“Microsoft is complicit in profiting from a violent mass-incarceration and deportation scheme,” said Color Of Change Senior Campaign Director Scott Roberts. “No child belongs in a cage, tent city or juvenile detention center at any time or in any place. The act of separating and detaining families would not be possible without the massive bureaucratic and logistical machine behind it. It’s not enough to simply speak symbolic words against these acts. Microsoft must take action in the one way that will make an actual impact: canceling the contract. We will hold any corporation accountable for their role in advancing Trump’s violence against our communities, and we will not stop they until they heed the call of thousands of tech workers and people directly impacted by this crisis.”
“As long as Microsoft maintains its contract with ICE, it remains complicit in the brutality and racism of ICE,” said Center for Media Justice Campaign Director Steven Renderos. “The company is gaining millions of dollars while families of color are torn apart and children sleep in cages. In the face of such inhumanity, the choice for Microsoft, and the many other tech companies that still work with ICE, is simple: They can either provide the infrastructure that supports the Trump administration’s destruction of our communities or they can take responsibility — following the lead of their own employees — and cancel their contract.”
“If Microsoft is truly morally outraged by ICE’s actions, it must walk the walk and stop profiting off of Donald Trump’s mass incarceration and deportation agenda,” said CREDO Action Campaign Manager Nicole Regalado. “Nadella has tried to brand himself as a CEO who puts ‘empathy at the center of everything.’ This is his chance to prove it. Microsoft must cancel its contract — now.”
“While ICE is keeping children in cages and dragging its feet on reuniting families, Microsoft is not only enabling ICE, they’re profiting off this human misery. Activists and Microsoft’s own employees have joined the rallying cry: It's time to divest from ICE,” said Demand Progress Campaigner Reuben Hayslett. “There’s still time for CEO Satya Nadella to stand on the right side of history by not just denouncing ICE and its policies but canceling the company’s contract with ICE and refusing to outfit their operations with cloud-computing services.”
“Microsoft is providing a technological foundation for ICE’s work. They play a huge part in the ongoing family-separation horror” said Fight for the Future Campaigner Jelani Drew. “It’s time for Microsoft to stop simply making statements condemning the violation of human rights and start actually living by their word.”
“The technology Microsoft provides to ICE enables a cruel deportation machine that violates human rights,” said Free Press Action Fund Campaigner Lucia Martínez. “Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella must act with conscience and cancel Microsoft’s contract with ICE. He must stand in solidarity with his employees, hundreds of thousands of people across the country, and immigrant families that have been separated under ICE’s inhumane policy.”
“Caging children is a crime, not a business model. Microsoft’s CEO, Satya Nadella, who continues to defend the company’s contract with ICE, will go down in history not as a compassionate titan of industry but as a profiteer,” said Mijente Cofounder Marisa Franco. “Tech executives either fail to grasp the power they have to stop this deportation machine or are too enticed by future riches to stop it. That machine requires many gears to turn. If thousands more tech employees stand together with immigrant activists — if tech executives feel more internal pressure while activists apply ever more external pressure — then we can bring the deportation machine to a grinding halt.”
“Hey, Satya Nadella, where do you want to go today? Will you continue your Faustian deal or be on the side of your values, workers, and customers? This is a torture-for-profit racket. Tech companies who support the inhumane policies of the Trump administration have lost their moral compass and will be held responsible for the violence and suffering they accelerate and profit from,” said Presente.org Executive Director Matt Nelson. “No company should be in the business of caging children and families. If Microsoft continues down this treacherous, soulless path, it will lose the trust of thousands of its employees and millions of consumers.”
“Despite Microsoft’s supposedly progressive values, the company lends data and artificial-intelligence capabilities to help ICE track down undocumented immigrants in their places of work, schools and homes,” said SumOfUs Lead Campaign Strategist Emma Pullman. “ICE is the same government agency responsible for tearing children as young as three months old away from their families and detaining them. And while Microsoft may defend itself by saying the company is not directly responsible for family separation and family detention, it’s still helping ICE tear families apart. Microsoft executives need to take responsibility for their role in these egregious acts.”