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300,000 Petitioners Call on Microsoft to End Contract with ICE

Microsoft has a $19.4 million contract with ICE. (U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement/Flickr)
Microsoft has a $19.4 million contract with ICE. (U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement/Flickr)
July 27, 2018

REDMOND, Wash. – A coalition of groups delivered more than 300,000 signatures to Microsoft on Thursday, calling on the company to end its contract with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

The groups gathered at company headquarters in Redmond, as well as other locations across the country. Microsoft's nearly $19.4 million contract provides cloud computing services for ICE, supporting its office operations.

Emma Pullman is campaign manager with SumOfUs, a group that pushes for corporate accountability, and was at the signature delivery.

"We believe that Microsoft needs to take a stand right now, and it needs to end its contract. And not doing so is complicity with this violent and destructive, and inhumane regime and set of policies," Pullman said.

In response to a request for comment, a Microsoft spokesperson pointed to CEO Satya Nadella's letter to employees, in which he called the practice of family separation at the border "abhorrent" and said the company's services don't aid the agency in this policy. This was in response to a letter from more than 500 Microsoft employees expressing concern about the ICE contract.

Pullman noted that Microsoft founders Bill Gates and Paul Allen are known for their philanthropic work, including work with refugees and asylum seekers. With its ICE contract, she said, the company has to make a choice about which side of history it wants to be on.

"Does it want to be remembered as the corporation that enabled this deportation machine? Or does it want to be remembered as a company that engaged in philanthropic work and helped connect the world more closely? And I think right now that is its call – which road it wants to take," said Pullman.

Seven other actions took place yesterday at Microsoft offices and businesses around the country.

Eric Tegethoff, Public News Service - WA