Investors warn corporations of human rights risks related to "zero tolerance" immigration policies

Date: 
Jul 26th 2018

Investor Alliance for Human Rights issues guidance to help companies avoid human rights violations related to immigrant detention and family separation. 

NEW YORK, NY, THURSDAY, JULY 26TH, 2018 – As tonight’s 6pm deadline for reuniting families separated as a result of the administration’s “zero tolerance” immigration policies fast approaches, the Investor Alliance for Human Rights, a coalition of 125 institutional investors representing over US$3 trillion in assets under management released Guidance on Corporate Human Rights Due Diligence Related to Immigration Detention and Family separation.  

The U.S. “zero tolerance” immigration policy, which includes the practice of family separation, has led to at least 2,300 children being separated from their parents, the indefinite detention of hundreds of families, and uncertainty about when and how those who have been separated will be reunited.

While the deadline for reuniting families is today, it is estimated that more than 900 parents won't be reunited with their children by this deadline because some parents cannot be found while other parents have already been deported. On Monday, the U.S. government indicated that more than 460 parents separated from their children may have already been deported.  

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights notes that the practice of separating children at the border constitutes “arbitrary and unlawful interference in family life, and is a serious violation of the rights of the child,” including those rights articulated in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. Companies with existing or potential contracts with the U.S. Federal Government associated with the enforcement of immigration policies are therefore exposed to the risk of contributing to, or being directly linked to, violations of human rights. The U.N. Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights requires that businesses avoid causing or contributing to adverse human rights impacts through their own activities.

This guidance is being sent by Alliance members to companies in at-risk sectors including: 

  • Technology companies with active contracts with federal immigration agencies to provide a range of hardware and other infrastructure, including cloud services, risk assessment tools, artificial intelligence, face scanning technology, network operations management, and military technology;
  • For-profit private prisons engaged in the family and adult detention business, housing immigrant detainees across the country;
  • Contractors involved in processing and transporting children to different parts of the United States or providing food, shelter, clothing, and other services related to managing Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and other relevant agency programs; and,
  • Financial institutions which provide access to capital and financial support to the above industries. 

To learn more about this initiative, please contact: 

Susana McDermott
ICCR, Director of Communications
212-870-2938
smcdermott@iccr.org 

The Investor Alliance for Human Rights provides investors with a platform to engage companies, states and standard-setting bodies to ensure they create policies and standards to prevent negative corporate human rights impacts, and hold companies accountable when they fail to do so. Alliance members comprise a cross section of institutional investors representing over $3 trillion in assets under management including public and union pension funds, faith-based investors, asset managers and others. Visit their website at: https://investorsforhumanrights.org/

 

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