Peter Thiel's Palantir Was Used To Bust Relatives of Migrant Children, New Documents Show - 2019-05-02
The documents undercut prior statements from Palantir, in which the company tried to draw a clean line between the wing of ICE devoted strictly to deportations and the enforcement of immigration laws, and its $38 million contract with Homeland Security Investigations, or HSI, a component of ICE with a far broader criminal enforcement mandate. Asked about the contract renewal by the New York Times, a Palantir spokesperson stated:
"There are two major divisions of ICE with two distinct mandates: Homeland Security Investigations, or H.S.I., is responsible for cross-border criminal investigations. The other major directorate, Enforcement and Removal Operations, or E.R.O., is responsible for interior civil immigration enforcement, including deportation and detention of undocumented immigrants. We do not work for E.R.O."
Documents obtained through Freedom of Information Act litigation and provided to The Intercept show that this claim, that Palantir software is strictly involved in criminal investigations as opposed to deportations, is false. The discrepancy between the private intelligence firm's public assertion and the reality conveyed in the newly-released documents was first identified by Mijente, an advocacy organization that has closely tracked Palantir's murky role in immigration enforcement. Far from detached support in "cross-border criminal investigations," the materials released this week confirm the role Palantir technology played in facilitating hundreds of arrests, only a small fraction of which led to criminal prosecutions.