Should Tech Companies Build Tools for US Immigration Enforcement Agencies?

Erika Andiola and Jonathan Ryan of the immigrant rights nonprofit RAICES will discuss this question and more at Code Conference on Tuesday.

RAICES, or the Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services, is a Texas-based nonprofitthat’s been providing free legal aid to immigrants for decades. But you probably only heard about the organization when last year it made history for being the recipient of the largest-grossing crowdfunding campaign in Facebook’s history.

In light of the Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” immigration policy, two former Facebook employees set up a campaign that raised more than $20 million to help RAICESprovide legal aid and services to families separated at the border.

Recode’s cofounder and editor at large Kara Swisher and Vox’s founder and editor-at-large Ezra Klein will interview the organization’s chief advocacy officer, Erika Andiola, and its CEO, Jonathan Ryan at Code Conference on Tuesday.

Andiola got her start in community organizing when she co-founded the Arizona Dream Act Coalition. As an undocumented woman and DACA recipient herself, she’s dedicated her career to fighting for immigrant rights. Previously, Andiola worked on Senator Bernie Sanders’ 2016 presidential campaign as a Latino outreach strategist.

We just filed a lawsuit against GEO (a private detention corporation)! Thirteen migrant fathers were threatened and separated from the children in August 2018 at Karnes detention center. We were there to witness this and we are not staying quiet about it. https://t.co/fM7HZxWtrf— Erika Andiola (@ErikaAndiola) May 28, 2019

Ryan is an Irish-American attorney and human rights advocate who’s led RAICES since 2008. In his time at the nonprofit, he’s grown it from only four employees to over 200.

Under his leadership, the organization has taken a stand on critical issues tied to the “Tech Won’t Build It” movement, such as refusing a $250,000 donation from Salesforce after it was revealed that the company holds a contract with Customs and Border Protection, a federal agency that’s been involved in enforcing Trump’s controversial family separation policy. (Salesforce has maintained that their software is not used by CBP to enable that policy.)

We plan to ask Andiola and Ryan about the current state of immigration policy, how it impacts the tech industry, and about the debate over whether technology companies should provide tools to immigration enforcement agencies. The interview will be at 10:10 a.m. PT on Tuesday, June 11.

By Shirin Ghaffary for V O X

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