A PDF document obtained by an advocacy organization, Mijente, reveals that agents from the Enforcement and Removal Operations under the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) used software by Palantir to deport immigrants from the United States.
The software was used to create accounts for immigrant children and their relatives. These profiles were used in arresting and prosecuting undocumented people during the operation.
Palantir’s Software Used in Deportation Operation
Mijente obtained a document from Freedom of Information Act litigation which reveals that software developed by Palantir, a data mining company, was used in a deportation operation in the United States.
The software called the Investigative Case Management (ICM) system helped the agents build profiles of immigrant children and their relatives. Agents were required to log the details of an unaccompanied minor into the system when they encounter one. According to Palantir, ICM software is designed to manage and investigate complex cases.
According to Mijente, the ICE agents arrested a total of 443 people solely for being undocumented. However, it is unclear how many of the detained people were relatives of captured immigrant children.
The operation was in motion when the Trump administration detained hundreds of children’s shelters across the United States. Border agents retrieved unaccompanied children and sent them to privately-run facilities, where they were held for an uncertain period.
Any relative or parent that came to claim a child held at those facilities was arrested and deported by the ICE. For this reason, some children were held for a more extended period as family members stopped coming to claim them.
Mijente on its part urged Palantir to terminate its contract with the ICE, adding that its should stop developing software that helps agencies track, detain, and deport immigrants, refugees, and people seeking asylum in the US.
Palantir’s Comments Contradict Document Evidence
The earlier explanations provided by Palantir last year was contrary to the findings revealed in the Mijente document. The data mining company revealed to The New York Times last year that it is only working with the Homeland Security Investigations division of ICE. This division is tasked with handling trans-border criminal investigations.
A spokesperson for Palantir noted that it doesn’t work with the Enforcement and Removal Operations, a major directorate under ICE that tackles internal civil immigration issues. The firm which was established by Peter Thiel, the co-founder of PayPal is known for accepting military, intelligence, and law enforcement contracts from the United States government.
Mijente revealed that the document highlighted above is part of the trove of information obtained via a Freedom of Information Act request. Several organizations including Women’s Refugee Commission, the National Immigrant Justice Center, the American Immigration Council, Kids in Need of Defense, Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale, and Dorr LLP, and the Florence Immigrant and Refugee Rights Project, were involved in obtaining that information.