Ginni Rometty, CEO
1 New Orchard Road
Armonk, New York 10504-1722
December 12, 2016
Dear Ms. Rometty,
IBM is a company that prides itself on championing diversity, fairness and inclusion. In the spirit of that commitment, we, the undersigned advocacy organizations, write to express grave concern regarding your failure to unequivocally respond to inquiries from The Intercept regarding participation in the creation of a registry for Muslim immigrants.
In November, the online publication The Intercept requested a response to the following question:
“Would IBM, if solicited by the Trump administration, sell any goods, services, information, or consulting of any kind to help facilitate the creation of a national Muslim registry, a project which has been floated tentatively by the president-elect’s transition team?”
While Twitter answered with an unequivocal no, IBM failed to respond.
On behalf of 22 groups representing more than 35 million people, we are calling on you to do better.
The creation of a registry of Muslims in the United States is one of President-elect Trump’s most chilling proposals. Within just two weeks of the election, a member of the Trump transition team was photographed carrying a document entitled “Plan for First 365 Days,” which listed an updated registration program as one of his top priorities. The author of the document, Kris Kobach, was the architect of the National Security Entrance Exit Registration System, or NSEERS, a registration program targeting primarily Muslims on non-immigrant visas shortly after 9/11.
Under the guise of preserving national security, proponents of NSEERS claimed the program was necessary. However, not a single person on the registry was convicted of a terrorism-related crime. In reality, NSEERS was a program that profiled Muslims, subjected many of them to detention and deportation, and damaged their communities. In only the first year of the program, the government started deportation proceedings for more than 13,000 people.
This is not about politics. Government targeting of individuals based on religion and ethnicity violates the Constitution and our core values as a country. It also threatens millions of people.
We believe it is a great sign of corporate responsibility and common decency for corporations to ensure their resources are not used to support bigotry and discrimination. An important first step would be for IBM to publicly refuse to help build a Muslim registry.
Please contact Heidi Hess at CREDO or Naheed Qureshi at Muslim Advocates to discuss this further.
CREDO, Muslim Advocates, Color of Change, Courage Campaign, Democracy for America, #AllOfUs, Amnesty International USA, Asian Law Caucus, Bend the Arc Jewish Action, Center for Constitutional Rights, Center for Media Justice, Daily Kos, Demand Progress, Desis Rising Up and Moving, Faithful America, Fight for the Future, Free Press, Mijente, MPower Change, Presente, Sum of Us, Ultraviolet
Michelle H. Browdy, Senior Vice President, Legal and Regulatory Affairs, and General Counsel
Chris Padilla, Vice President, Government and Regulatory Affairs