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08/1/2019 | Protecting Immigrant Communities, Immigrant Rights - Creating Deportation Defense

CPD Network Leads Charge Against Amazon for Ties to ICE, Workers’ Rights Violations, and Monopoly Power

July shaped up to be a pivotal moment for the anti-Amazon campaign, demonstrating the intersectional issues and diverse power at the center of the CPD Network. Last month brought together several threads of the work, particularly, the campaign against corporate backers of hate who empower ICE deportations and surveillance with federal oversight on antitrust laws. 

CPD affiliates Make the Road New York, New York Communities for Change, and Make the Road New Jersey organized a series of actions to coincide with key Amazon-related events. The protests come as ICE continues to raid and terrorize communities across the country, trap migrant children in inhumane environments at the border, and rip families apart—a humanitarian crisis that Amazon has directly helped fuel, and one it threatens to exacerbate with continued marketing of its facial recognition software to ICE officials.

On July 11, as Amazon Web Services held its annual summit, immigrant rights groups, tech workers, and Amazon warehouse workers rallied in the streets outside of the Javits Center to demand that Amazon end its relationship with the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency. The demonstrators, led by a growing coalition of organizations (including Make the Road NY, New York Communities for Change, Mijente, ALIGN, Tech Workers Coalition and others) demanded that Amazon Web Services—which serves as the Department of Homeland Security’s’s database for immigration case management systems—stop providing its cloud computing software to DHS that allows the agency to store biometric data on 230 million people, including fingerprints, face, and iris records. 

On July 14, immigrant members of Make the Road NJ—including families who have been detained by ICE—echoed the calls for Amazon to end its partnership with ICE and close any federal contracts that support the administration’s anti-immigrant agenda. “In a moment when the federal government is caging children in horrendous conditions, Amazon provides key technology and data infrastructure to fuel the Trump administration’s deportation machine and bolstering the work of ICE. It’s time for that to end!” said Sara Cullinane, Executive Director of Make the Road NJ.

On July 15, the start of Amazon’s two-day Prime Day event, a large coalition of community, immigration, and labor groups occupied the lobby of Jeff Bezos’ new $80 million dollar Manhattan home to deliver 250,000 petitions calling on Amazon to cut ties with ICE and end abusive working conditions in its warehouses. Led by New York Communities for Change and others, the rally was one of several coordinated actions taking place across the country—including in Minneapolis, Portland, Seattle, San Francisco, Arlington, and Washington D.C.—building on a collective grassroots energy working to hold the corporation accountable. 

These nationwide actions set the tone looking forward as the Federal Trade Commission’s starts its investigation of Amazon. Progressive groups are prepared to mobilize around antitrust efforts against the all-too-powerful monopolies and corporations that undermine U.S. democracy, starting with the House Antitrust Subcommittee hearing on July 16. Check out #AmazonvsImmigrants, #BackersofHate, #NoTech4ICE on Twitter for more pictures, videos, updates and news from those leading the fight.