Today, in two separate letters, a coalition of over 50 civil society organizations – advocates for civil rights, civil liberties, government accountability, human rights, immigrants’ rights, and privacy – and a group of more than 50 experts in computer science, engineering, math, and automated decision-making urged the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to immediately halt a new “Extreme Vetting Initiative” on the grounds that it will be inaccurate, biased, and a threat to constitutional and human rights.

The Center for Media Justice, alongside other grassroots advocacy organizations, called on companies that attended ICE industry presentations to publicly reject the contract to build the system.  In an online petition, we specifically pressed IBM to explain its position, citing the company’s pro-immigrant statements in recent policy debates.

The Extreme Vetting Initiative is Immigration and Custom Enforcement’s (ICE) plan to monitor much of the internet, including social media, to automatically flag people for deportation or visa denial based on broad, ambiguous criteria. As described in ICE documents, the program will make “determinations via automation” about whether an individual will become a “positively contributing member of society” or “contribute to the national interest” – even though those terms are undefined in American immigration law.

To read the entire letter sent to DHS, click here.


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