Tri-CRI Members File Shareholder Resolutions with Amazon and Northrop Grumman on Immigrants’ Rights Concerns
Members of the Tri-State Coalition for Responsible Investment (Tri-CRI) have filed two shareholder resolutions with companies whose government contracts pose risks to immigrants’ rights – Amazon and Northrop Grumman. Tri-CRI members have long supported immigrant communities through education, affordable housing, legal aid, and spiritual support ministries, and in 2018, we made a decision to align our shareholder advocacy priorities with this mission.
In response to the family separation and detention crisis at the US-Mexico border, Tri-CRI sought to determine if any companies in our portfolios were enabling enforcement of President Trump’s “zero tolerance” policy through contracts with government agencies, such as Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Customs and Border Protection (CBP), and/or the Office for Refugee Resettlement (ORR). We identified technology companies, banks, and major government contractors with business relationships with these agencies. In June 2018, we initiated dialogues with Microsoft, Accenture, and General Dynamics, focusing on the corporate responsibility to respect human rights through business relationships, including those with the U.S. government, in line with the expectations of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. We also engage JP Morgan Chase, Wells Fargo, and Bank of America on human rights risks related to lending to private prison companies given their role in enabling immigration detention. We ultimately determined that shareholder resolutions were appropriate with Amazon and Northrop Grumman in order to bring these issues before all shareholders at the Annual General Meetings.
The Sisters of St. Joseph of Brentwood are the lead filers of a resolution asking Amazon to prohibit sales of facial recognition technology to government agencies unless it concludes, after an evaluation using independent evidence, that the technology does not materially violate civil and human rights. Amazon Web Services already has a contract to provide cloud computing services to ICE and has pitched facial recognition technology to ICE, which could be used to increase surveillance of immigrant communities.
A Human Rights Due Diligence proposal was filed with Northrop Grumman, co-led by the Sisters of St. Dominic of Caldwell and the Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia, a member of the Philadelphia Area CRI (PACRI), with School Sisters of Notre Dame, AM Province co-filing the proposal and other members joining the engagement. The proposal raises concerns about the company’s contract with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to develop technology for the agency’s biometric identity database, called HART (Homeland Advanced Recognition Technology). This database will increase DHS’s capacity to collect, store, and share biometric data and may be used to increase targeted surveillance of immigrant communities. Investors are concerned about privacy rights violations and racial bias embedded in technologies used to collect biometric data, and encourage the company to have more robust systems in place to mitigate any potential risks.
We encourage investors to support the proposals with Amazon and Northrop Grumman this proxy season. To learn more about upcoming shareholder resolutions filed by ICCR members on immigrants’ rights concerns, please see the ICCR press release here.