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Seattle software company cuts ties with ICE

caption: A collage of screenshots from Chef blog posts, Github, and Twitter.
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A collage of screenshots from Chef blog posts, Github, and Twitter.
KUOW/Esmy Jimenez

Some tech workers have put pressure on their employers to end contracts with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

This week Chef, a software company based in Seattle, took that action after employee protests.

Last week, a former Chef employee Seth Vargo discovered part of his code was connected to ICE. So he deleted it because he said he disagreed with the agency's policy of detention.

"I have a moral and ethical obligation to prevent my source from being used for evil," Vargo said.

It caused a disruption to the system and consequently to Chef customers.

In an email sent to employees, Chef CEO Barry Crist originally said the company would continue their contract with ICE, "regardless of whether or not we personally agree with their various policies.”

But that changed this week. Chef changed course and decided it would not renew contracts with ICE.

Over email, a spokesman for ICE said: “U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement fully respects the Constitutional rights of all people to peacefully and lawfully express their opinions; however, the agency will continue to perform its immigration enforcement mission consistent with federal law and agency policy.”

Chef in turn has said it will donate revenue from the ICE contracts to charities that help immigrants affected by detention and family separation.

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