Inside Deloitte's secret contracts with ICE
On July 1, Popular Information reported that Deloitte had inked $104 million in contracts with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) since Trump took office. The consulting giant also has signed $177 million in contracts with Customs and Border Protection (CBP) since January 2017.
Deloitte is making a lot of money helping implement Trump's draconian immigration policy. But what, exactly, is it doing?
Federal contracting disclosures are frustratingly vague. They only describe the substance of the contracts in general terms: "General Management Consulting Services," "Engineering Services," and, more ominously, "Detention Compliance and Removals."
Deloitte has sought to assure its employees and the public that its work with ICE and CBP is nothing to worry about. Last year, Deloitte employees petitioned management to stop working with ICE and CBP. "We believe that Deloitte must take a stand against the mistreatment of human beings," the employee petition said.
In response, Deloitte said that the company "does not directly or indirectly support the separation of families" and "[a]ny such work would be inconsistent with our values."
Deloitte did not elaborate on what it was doing with ICE and CBP. But an internal company email obtained by Popular Information and a LinkedIn profile by an enthusiastic Deloitte employee provide more information.
Brown spills the beans
Jim Brown worked at ICE for 27 years. Among other things, Brown says he was tasked at ICE with "with the implementation of all [Executive Orders] regarding immigration enforcement."
In February 2018, Brown left ICE and joined Deloitte as a "Specialist Master" in the company's federal practice. Brown details his work for Deloitte in a public LinkedIn page.
Brown says, at Deloitte, he is responsible for "day to day operations and efforts of teams assigned to immigration enforcement, field operations techniques, detention operations and practices, studies, analysis and project management within ICE Enforcement & Removal Operations (ERO)."
Among Brown's "accomplishments" is working with the "ICE facilities management group" on "detention bed space utilization and optimization processes."
What Deloitte management is telling its staff
Popular Information has obtained an internal email from two Deloitte executives, Mike Canning and Matt Widmer, to staff about the company's controversial ICE contracts. It paints a very different picture of the scope of Deloitte's work with ICE.
The email is apparently in response to Deloitte employees voicing concern about the contracts with ICE. The email "thanks" employees "who have raised your voice on these topics with passion and with professionalism."
The email was sent on July 2, the day after Popular Information's report on Deloitte's multi-million dollar business with ICE. An excerpt:
Given recent speculation by media and advocacy groups regarding contracts held by a number of consulting firms, ours included, Matt and I wanted to share our perspectives on the portfolio of work performed by our Borders, Trade and Immigration (BTI) account...BTI encompasses Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE), Customs & Border Protection (CBP) and US Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS)...Our BTI team deploys hundreds of practitioners who proudly serve or have served to help facilitate trade, support immigration benefits, assist our clients in preventing and responding swiftly to terrorist incidents, thwart drug smuggling, human trafficking, and transnational organized crime, and launch travel programs that serve the public. We are proud of the work we do, and equally proud of the manner with which we have selected and will continue to select our projects to be consistent with our firm’s values.
Canning and Widmer say that Deloitte does "not bid on work that is not aligned with our values."
Notably, the email does not mention Deloitte's work on "detention operation and management," "ICE facilities management," or "detention bed space utilization and optimization." This is all part of Deloitte's engagement with ICE Enforcement & Removal Operations highlighted in Brown's LinkedIn profile.
Popular Information contacted Canning and several members of Deloitte's communications staff and asked why Deloitte's work on ICE detention, facilities management, and removals wasn't disclosed to staff. Jonathan Gandal, Deloitte’s Managing Director for Communication, responded. Gandal claimed that Brown’s LinkedIn profile was inaccurate.
The social media profile you are referencing is from an individual who recently joined our Firm after a long career in government service and does not accurately reflect his responsibilities since joining Deloitte. We have always been, and will continue to be, proactive and deliberate to ensure the work we choose to do is consistent with our firm’s values and brings positive impact to our clients, our people, and our communities. We stand by our internally distributed email, which is entirely accurate.
Deloitte did not indicate what was inaccurate about Brown’s LinkedIn page. The company did not deny that it worked with ICE on issues like “facilities management,” “detention bed space utilization,” and “removal.”
What happens at ICE facilities
Brown's LinkedIn page reveals that Deloitte is extensively involved in ICE facilities management. A report released by the Department of Homeland Security Inspector General in June reveals that detainees are subject to inhumane and dangerous conditions.
The report details the results of inspections of four ICE facilities. As of June, ICE operated about 200 facilities across the country, which detain over 50,000 migrants each day. From the report:
[W]e observed immediate risks or egregious violations of detention standards at facilities in Adelanto, CA, and Essex County, NJ, including nooses in detainee cells, overly restrictive segregation, inadequate medical care, unreported security incidents, and significant food safety issues...All four facilities had issues with expired food, which puts detainees at risk for food-borne illnesses. At three facilities, we found that segregation practices violated standards and infringed on detainee rights. Two facilities failed to provide recreation outside detainee housing units. Bathrooms in two facilities’ detainee housing units were dilapidated and moldy. At one facility, detainees were not provided appropriate clothing and hygiene items to ensure
they could properly care for themselves.
Deloitte is making millions of dollars from ICE, in part by managing and "optimizing" these facilities.
Since Trump took office, at least 24 immigrants have died in ICE custody.
Zero for Zeros
In June, Popular Information reported on nine companies that received a 100% rating from the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) but donated over $1 million to anti-gay members of Congress over the last two years. These are politicians who received a zero on HRC's Congressional Scorecard.
Now, there is a new campaign targeting all 49 companies that received a 100% rating but donated to anti-gay members of Congress. It's called Zero for Zeros.
The group's first online ads launch today.
A vote on impeachment is coming this month
Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and other Democratic leaders in the House have opposed starting the impeachment process against Trump. Soon, however, it might not be up to them.
On Monday, Congressman Al Green (D-TX) announced that "he will force a vote on articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump by next week."
Green was motivated to take action by Trump's racist attacks on four Democratic Congresswomen. "The President of the United States is a racist, a bigot, a misogynist, as well as an invidious prevaricator. To say that Donald John Trump is unfit for the Office of the President of the United States is an understatement," Green said.
Green forced impeachment votes in 2017 and 2018 following racist comments by Trump. (The first impeachment resolution centered on Trump's comments on Charlotteville and the second on Trump's description of African nations as "shithole countries.") Each time, about 60 Democrats voted in favor of the impeachment. In those cases, most Democrats said Green's impeachment resolution was "premature," in light of the ongoing Mueller investigation.
This is a different time. Mueller's report has been released an includes extensive evidence that Trump obstructed justice. (Mueller is scheduled to testify before Congress later this month.) Trump was also named as an unindicted co-conspirator in two campaign finance felonies. The racist attacks were against members of Congress.
This will make it more difficult for Pelosi and the leadership to vote against Green's resolution -- although they are expected to do so. It will also be more challenging for House leadership to convince rank-and-file Democrats to vote against an impeachment resolution.
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