On May 15th, the City Council of Richmond, CA voted 6-1 to enact a Sanctuary City Contracting ordinance, sponsored by Councilmembers Jovanka Beckles and Ada Recinos.
The Sanctuary City ordinance (model legislation can be found on this website) was developed by the 19-member Deport ICE coalition which seeks to strengthen sanctuary protections in California cities.
Private companies such as Vigilant Solutions, Thomson Reuters, Palantir, Giant Oak and others have signed contracts with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to provide and share data from government and private sources that can be used to profile, identify, and track undocumented people and their families, employers and associates.
The Department of Homeland Security has indicated that these databases and technologies will also be used to track some naturalized citizens, legal residents and political targets such as Muslims and so-called “black identity extremists.”
Among the private companies known to have contracts in place with ICE are Thomson Reuters, Giant Oak, Palantir, and Vigilant Solutions.
The City of Richmond has an existing contract for automated license plate reader requipment and data storage with Vigilant Solutions, who have a long history with ICE, and whose January 2018 contract with ICE was highlighted in The Verge.
After national publicity about Vigilant’s contract with ICE and the California Legislature’s passage of SB 54, several cities have postponed or declined to sign new contracts with Vigilant and the manufacturer claimed no municipal data was shared with ICE without direct municipal authorization.
A 2017 sharing report secured by a public records request from the City of Sacramento, also a sanctuary city by resolution, showed that the City was sharing their license data via Vigilant’s LEARN database with 792 other agences, including ICE.
A request for a license plate data sharing report for the City of Richmond filed by the Street Level Surveillance Project remains unanswered by the City three months after the request was filed.
Video of May 15 Press Conference at Richmond City Hall. Speakers are Richmond councilmember Jovanka Beckles. Rebecca Merton from Freedom for Immigrants (formerly CIVIC), Brian Hofer from Oakland Privacy, and Sameena Usman from the Council on Islamic-American Relations.
Video of May 15 Discussion and Vote at Richmond City Hall. (Selected). Speakers are Richmond Councilmembers Ada Recinos and Jovanka Beckles, Don Fogg from Oakland Privacy, Elsa Monroe from SEIU, Tracy Rosenberg from Media Alliance, Brian Hofer from Oakland Privacy, Mike Katz-Lacabe from the Center for Human Rights and Privacy and Richmond Councilmember Jael Myrick.
East Bay Times: Richmond Will Not Do Business With ICE Vendors