IBM urged to avoid working on 'extreme vetting' of U.S. immigrants




  • In US
  • 2017-11-16 15:52:19Z
  • By By Dustin Volz
The logo for IBM is seen at the SIBOS banking and financial conference in Toronto
The logo for IBM is seen at the SIBOS banking and financial conference in Toronto  

By Dustin Volz

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A coalition of rights groups launched an online petition on Thursday urging IBM Corp to declare that it will not develop technology to help the Trump administration carry out a proposal to identify people for visa denial and deportation from the United States.

IBM and several other technology companies and contractors attended a July informational session hosted by immigration enforcement officials that discussed developing technology for vetting immigrants, said Steven Renderos, organizing director at petitioner the Center for Media Justice.

President Donald Trump has pledged to harden screening procedures for people looking to enter the country, and also called for "extreme vetting" of certain immigrants to ensure they are contributing to society, saying such steps are necessary to protect national security and curtail illegal immigration.

The rights group said the proposals run counter to IBM's stated goals of protecting so-called "Dreamer" immigrants from deportation.

Asked about the petition and whether it planned to work to help vet and deport immigrants, an IBM spokeswoman said the company "would not work on any project that runs counter to our company's values, including our long-standing opposition to discrimination against anyone on the basis of race, gender, sexual orientation or religion."

The petition is tied to a broader advocacy campaign, also begun Thursday, that objects to the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Extreme Vetting Initiative.

In an Oct. 5 email seen by Reuters, Christopher Padilla, IBM's vice president of government affairs, cited the company's opposition to discrimination in response to an inquiry about the vetting program from the nonprofit group Open Mic.

Padilla said the meeting IBM attended was only informational and it was "premature to speculate" whether the company would pursue business related to the Extreme Vetting Initiative.

ICE wants to use machine learning technology and social media monitoring to determine whether an individual is a "positively contributing member of society," according to documents published on federal contracting websites.

More than 50 civil society groups and more than 50 technical experts sent separate letters on Thursday to the Department of Homeland Security saying the vetting program as described was "tailor-made for discrimination" and contending artificial intelligence was unable to provide the information ICE desired.

Opponents of Trump's policies ranging from immigration to trade have been pressuring IBM and other technology companies to avoid working on proposals in these areas from the Republican president's administration.

Shortly after the presidential election last year, for example, several internet firms pledged that they would not help Trump build a data registry to track people based on their religion or assist in mass deportations.

IBM is among dozens of technology companies to join a legal briefing opposing Trump's decision to end the "Dreamer" program that protects from deportation about 900,000 immigrants brought illegally into the United States as children.

"While on the one hand they've expressed their support for Dreamers, they're also considering building a platform that would make it easier to deport them," Renderos said.

CREDO, Daily Kos, and Color of Change also organized the petition.

(Reporting by Dustin Volz in Washington, additional reporting by Salvador Rodriguez in San Francisco, Editing by Rosalba O'Brien and David Gregorio)

COMMENTS

More Related News

Pelosi cancels Afghanistan trip, cites Trump
Pelosi cancels Afghanistan trip, cites Trump 'leak'

WASHINGTON (AP) - House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Friday canceled her plans to travel by commercial plane to visit U.S. troops in Afghanistan, saying President Donald Trump had caused a security risk by talking about the trip.

The Latest: Giuliani aims to clarify collusion comments
The Latest: Giuliani aims to clarify collusion comments

WASHINGTON (AP) - The Latest on the special counsel's Russia investigation (all times local):

Trump postpones Pelosi
Trump postpones Pelosi's trip 'due to shutdown' after she called for State of the Union delay

In the increasingly personal standoff between President Donald Trump and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, the president on Thursday said he was postponing her use of a military plane for an official trip to Belgium, and Afghanistan in apparent retaliation for Pelosi asking Trump to delay his State of the

The Latest: Schiff berates Trump for disclosing warzone trip
The Latest: Schiff berates Trump for disclosing warzone trip

WASHINGTON (AP) - The Latest on the partial government shutdown (all times local):

Watchdog: Thousands more children may have been separated
Watchdog: Thousands more children may have been separated

WASHINGTON (AP) - Thousands more migrant children may have been split from their families than the Trump administration previously reported, in part because officials were stepping up family separations long before the border policy that prompted international outrage last spring, a government watchdog said Thursday.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

Cancel reply

Comments

Top News: US

facebook
Hit "Like"
Don't miss any important news
Thanks, you don't need to show me this anymore.