The Berkeley City Council will vote Tuesday on a proposal that would prohibit the city from doing business with any vendor that acts as a data broker or provides "extreme vetting" services to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE.
"We don’t have direct power over ICE but we do have direct power over where do we invest the city’s money and who do we contract with," said Kriss Worthington, a Berkeley councilman who is sponsoring the measure along with councilmembers Cheryl Davila and Kate Harrison. "It's the same thing that any consumer, when they go shopping, can [do to] send a message to corporations about which products they're willing to buy and which products they're willing to boycott," he added.
Berkeley's Sanctuary Contracting Ordinance is modeled after one that was passed by the Richmond City Council in May of this year. In addition to Berkeley, the city councils of Alameda and Oakland are also considering similar proposals to forbid working with firms that provide data or personal information that could be used by ICE to target undocumented immigrants.
The Berkeley ordinance defines extreme vetting as "data mining, threat modeling, predictive risk analysis or other similar services." A data broker collects and resells personal information to third parties -- including government agencies -- such as a consumer's credit history, court records, driver's license and vehicle registration information.
The Berkeley city council would be able to grant a waiver to a company if no “reasonable alternative” exists for the services provided by it.