Oct 23, 2018

Report: Amazon, Palantir play "key" role in immigration enforcement

Photo: Atilgan Ozdil/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

A new report commissioned by advocacy groups finds that multiple tech companies, including Amazon and Palantir, are of special importance to immigration authorities "due to their involvement at multiple points in the profiling, tracking and apprehension of undocumented persons."

Why it matters: Contracts between major tech companies and immigration enforcers have drawn attention from the companies’ employees, some of whom object to playing a role in the Trump administration's immigration crackdown.

The report draws on various sources, including congressional testimony, contracting records and agreements between agencies.

  • It was backed by Mijente, the National Immigration Project, and the Immigrant Defense Project and produced by Empower LLC, an outside research firm.

Details:

  • “Recent changes in policy and contracting at ICE have heightened the importance of two key tech companies: Amazon, as the primary cloud service provider for the agency, and Palantir, as a provider of case management that can be integrated with key DHS fusion centers and local and state law enforcement agencies,” says the report.
  • It describes how the companies work with United States immigration authorities.
  • Palantir provides “management and analysis software for local, regional and federal law enforcement, including key ICE systems” and Department of Homeland Security facilities in California.
  • Amazon hosts “numerous state and federal data systems key to immigration enforcement, including Palantir's Integrated Case Management system at ICE,” the report says, and works with state and local law enforcement that feed into DHS systems.

Amazon is also under pressure from competitors who say it has an unfair advantage to win a Pentagon cloud computing contract known as JEDI.

  • Winning government contracts typically requires authorizations for handling government data in the cloud, and Amazon has far more of those than many of its competitors — including Oracle, Microsoft and Akamai.
  • “[Amazon] has made wide use of these authorizations, serving as DHS’s database for immigration case management systems and biometric data for 230 million unique identities, mostly fingerprint records, as well as 36.5 million face records and 2.8 million irises,” said Mijente in a blog post.

Neither Amazon nor Palantir responded to requests for comment.

Big picture: Opponents of the Trump administration’s immigration policies have focused on the relationship between Silicon Valley companies and immigration enforcement.

  • Mijente sponsored a protest earlier this year at Palantir’s offices.
  • The Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services in Texas decided not to accept a donation from Salesforce unless the company cancelled any contracts with Customs and Border Patrol.

Go deeper: Read the full report

Go deeper

Italy reports lowest number of new coronavirus cases since February

Italy’s aerobatic team Frecce Tricolori fly over Milan in Duomo Square on May 25. Photo: Francesco Prandoni/Getty Images

The Italian government reported 300 new cases of coronavirus on Monday, the lowest daily increase since Feb. 29.

Why it matters: Italy, the first country in Europe to implement a nationwide lockdown after emerging as a hotspot in March, appears to have finally weathered its coronavirus outbreak. Italy has reported nearly 33,000 total deaths, the third-highest total behind the U.S. and U.K.

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 2 p.m. ET: 5,453,784 — Total deaths: 345,886 — Total recoveries — 2,191,310Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 2 p.m. ET: 1,651,254 — Total deaths: 97,850 — Total recoveries: 366,736 — Total tested: 14,163,915Map.
  3. World: Top Boris Johnson aide defends himself after allegations he broke U.K. lockdown — WHO suspends trial of hydroxychloroquine over safety concerns.
  4. 2020: Trump threatens to move Republican convention from North Carolina — Joe Biden makes first public appearance in two months.
  5. Public health: Officials are urging Americans to wear masks over Memorial Day.
  6. Economy: White House economic adviser Kevin Hassett says it's possible the unemployment rate could still be in double digits by November's election — Charities refocus their efforts to fill gaps left by government.
  7. What should I do? Hydroxychloroquine questions answeredTraveling, asthma, dishes, disinfectants and being contagiousMasks, lending books and self-isolatingExercise, laundry, what counts as soap — Pets, moving and personal healthAnswers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingHow to minimize your risk.
  8. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it, the right mask to wear.

Subscribe to Mike Allen's Axios AM to follow our coronavirus coverage each morning from your inbox.

Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Joe Biden makes first public appearance in over two months

Photo: Oliver Douliery/AFP via Getty Images

Former Vice President Joe Biden made his first in-person appearance in over two months on Monday to honor Memorial Day by laying a wreath at a Delaware veterans park, AP reports.

Why it matters: Biden, the Democratic Party's presumptive nominee, has taken the unprecedented step of campaigning from his home during the coronavirus pandemic, ever since canceling a rally in Cleveland on March 10.