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Anti-ICE protestors in New York City in September targeted businesses profiting from the crisis at the border. Photo: Erik McGregor/LightRocket via Getty Images

GitHub employees sent a letter to their CEO on Wednesday demanding the tech company drop its recently renewed, $200,000 contract with Immigration and Customs Enforcement, citing human rights concerns, the Washington Post reports.

What's new: Employees from Microsoft are circulating a letter endorsing their Github subsidiary to cancel the contract after GitHub CEO Nat Friedman stood by the platform's renewal with the government agency, Bloomberg reports.

Why it matters: Github is the latest company facing pressure from within for accepting government contracts for work that enforces the Trump administration's immigration policies.

Background: In an internal letter released on Tuesday, CEO Friedman said it will renew its contract with ICE to license its GitHub Enterprise Server. The platform, owned by Microsoft, hosts, shares and reviews code. Friedman also pledged Tuesday to donate $500,000 to nonprofits supporting immigrant communities.

  • Friedman said in the internal memo that he personally disapproves of ICE's policies.
  • Some Github employees said in the letter that the donation seemed like an attempt to mitigate its renewed contract.

Tuesday's letter reads:

"Continuing to hold this contract does not improve our bargaining power with ICE. All it does is make us complicit in their widespread human rights abuses. We cannot offset human lives with money. There is no donation that can offset the harm that ICE is perpetrating with the help of our labor."

Microsoft employees' Wednesday letter said:

"[T]his contract with the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) makes all of us working at Microsoft complicit to the unethical detainment of tens of thousands of immigrants and the various abuses that ICE subjects them to. Through our technology, we've already been contributing to the terrorism of ICE agents on our country's immigrant population. We've been doing so for years.”

In September, 76 protestors were arrested for blocking traffic in New York City while at the Microsoft store on Fifth Avenue. The protesters demanded Microsoft stop allowing ICE to use their technology, CNN reports.

Go deeper:

Go deeper

Andrew Cuomo refuses to resign: "I never touched anyone inappropriately"

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced on Tuesday that he will not resign from his post, despite an independent investigation finding that he sexually harassed multiple women in violation of federal and state law.

Why it matters: Cuomo had previously urged those calling for his resignation — including nearly every prominent New York Democrat — to wait for the results of the investigation overseen by New York Attorney General Letitia James. The findings were damning, but Cuomo said he is not going anywhere.

Miriam Kramer, author of Space
2 hours ago - Science

Boeing is getting its do-over

Boeing's Starliner awaits its launch atop an Atlas V rocket. Photo: NASA/Joel Kowsky

Boeing is set to launch a redo of an uncrewed test of its Starliner spacecraft — designed to one day carry astronauts — to the International Space Station this week.

Why it matters: This is a high-stakes test for Boeing, which failed to get its Starliner to the station during its first uncrewed test flight in December 2019.

3 hours ago - Health

New York City to require vaccination proof for indoor activities

New York City will require proof of vaccination to participate in indoor activities, including visiting gyms and restaurants, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Tuesday.

Why it matters: The mandate is the first of its kind for a major U.S. city, according to de Blasio. France and Italy announced similar requirements last month.