Microsoft workers are asking the company to cancel its $8 million of contracts with ICE, after their colleagues at GitHub take a stand (MSFT)

Some Microsoft employees are taking a stand and asking their employer to drop its contracts with Immigration and Customs Enforcement — following suit from their colleagues at GitHub, the Microsoft-owned code-sharing site.

On Thursday, Microsoft employees published an open letter to management on GitHub asking for the company to drop its contracts with ICE. As Recode reported, Microsoft currently has over $8 million in contracts with ICE, while GitHub recently renewed a contract with the agency worth some $200,000.

You can read the full letter here. It's not immediately clear how many employees signed the letter, but Bloomberg's Mark Bergen and Dina Bass report that it's "circulating" among the company.

Earlier this week, over 150 GitHub employees signed a similar open letter protesting that deal with ICE. GitHub CEO Nat Friedman defended the deal, saying in a a letter to employees saying that GitHub would not block the contract, but it plans to take part in immigration advocacy efforts and to donate $500,000 to immigration nonprofits. 

Read more: GitHub is facing an employee backlash as its CEO defends a $200,000 contract with ICE: 'All it does is make us complicit'

Microsoft employees say in the letter that they stand in solidarity with their colleagues at GitHub, arguing that a deal with ICE — the agency tasked with enforcing the Trump administration's controversial immigration policies, including family separation at the Mexican border — is in violation of management's stated support of human rights causes. 

"Microsoft is an international company that professes to equality and diversity, and is built on the labor of many immigrants," the letter said. "So how can we continue to do business with an organization that endlessly terrorizes this populace? We demand that Microsoft upholds its own guidelines in our commitment for human rights. As leaders in the tech industry, we are paving the way for others to follow."

The employees behind the letter say that Microsoft's dealings with ICE makes the company complicit in its work.

"Every single product and service that ICE has available to them makes them more efficient, able to operate at a bigger scale, and more capable of committing widespread human rights abuses," the letter from Microsoft employees said. "If we continue to provide those tools to such organizations, we are continuing to take part in the oppression of immigrants."

Microsoft did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Leave a Reply

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