At its founding, ICE’s strategy identified the critical role that technology and data would play in maximizing the agency’s ability to identify and track people that it could deport. The Surveillance Research Lab grows out of our work at IDP to end the police-to-deportation pipeline, including the campaign to end Secure Communities and the subsequent detainer policy campaigns, as well as our work to end ICE raids. In 2018, we, along with Mijente and the National Immigration Project, released Who’s Behind ICE: The Tech and Data Companies Fueling Deportation. In January 2023, we transitioned our surveillance work from IDP into the Surveillance Resistance Lab.
This report focuses on how tech companies and contracts are fueling immigration enforcement and highlights the long history of the technology industry’s “revolving door” relationship with federal agencies, how the technology industry and its products and services are now actually circumventing city- and state-level protections for vulnerable communities, and what we can do to expose and hold these actors accountable. Our organizations commissioned Empower LLC to undertake critical research about the multi-layered technology infrastructure behind the accelerated and expansive immigration enforcement we’re seeing today, and the companies that are behind it. The report opens a window into the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) plans for immigration policing through a scheme of tech and database policing, the mass scale and scope of the tech-based systems, the contracts that support it, and the connections between Washington, D.C., and Silicon Valley. It surveys and investigates the key contracts that technology companies have with DHS, particularly within Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), and their success in signing new contracts through intensive and expensive lobbying. Visit #NoTechforICE to learn more about Mijente’s campaign for a surveillance-free future.