RAICES rejects $250,000 Salesforce donation over company's border agency ties
Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff, under pressure from hundreds of employees and outside forces to end the tech company’s association with Customs and Border Protection (CBP), attempted to assuage outrage by cutting a $250,000 check to RAICES, a leading organization in Texas that has been fighting to keep families together. RAICES however, said, “no thanks.”
“When it comes to supporting oppressive, inhumane, and illegal policies, we want to be clear: the only right action is to stop,” said Jonathan Ryan, the group’s executive director. “The software and technical services you provide to CBP form part of the foundation that helps ICE operate efficiently, from recruiting more officers to managing vendors. While you justified continuing your contract with CBP by claiming that Salesforce software ‘isn’t working with CBP regarding the separation of families at the border’, this is not enough.”
It’s not enough for many others, either. “Three organizations confirmed to Gizmodo that, unless Salesforce cut ties with CBP soon, they would end their existing relationships with the company and encourage others to boycott it as well.” Three of those companies were among the 20 who signed an open letter to Salesforce, writing that “we are absolutely appalled that Salesforce is providing assistance to government agencies that are violating human rights. We cannot, in good conscience, ignore this issue.”
Benioff continues to refuse to sever ties with CBP. In a June memo to staff, he claimed “that while he was personally opposed to the policy, Salesforce products were not directly involved in the family separations.” A lousy deflection, pure and simple. Companies as wealthy as Salesforce have the ability to choose who they work with, and right now Salesforce’s CEO is choosing to work with a government agency that is committing humanitarian abuses, full stop.
“Your software provides an operational backbone for the agency,” Ryan continued, “and thus does directly support CBP in implementing its inhumane and immoral policies. There is no way around this, and there is no room for hair splitting when children are being brutally torn away from parents, when a mother attempts suicide in an effort to get her children released, and when an 18 month old baby is separated from their mother in detention.”