Salesforce staff urge company to drop contract with US immigration agency

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Salesforce staff urge company to drop contract with US immigration agency

Hundreds of Salesforce employees have urged their CEO Mark Benioff to re-examine the company's contract with US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) in light of reports detailing its involvement in separating families at the border.

Following Microsoft and Amazon, a petition signed by more than 650 Salesforce employees represents the third major tech company whose workforce has demanded action over their company's involvement with the organisations at the heart of the widely-criticised immigration policy.

Salesforce has been working with CBP since March, offering products such as Community Cloud and Service Cloud, to modernise staff recruitment, manage border activities, and engage with citizens.

But the cloud company's employees "are particularly concerned about the use of Service Cloud to manage border activities", they expressed in a letter addressed to Benioff, obtained by BuzzFeed News.

"Given the inhumane separation of children from their parents currently taking place at the border, we believe that our core value of Equality is at stake and that Salesforce should re-examine our contractual relationship with CBP and speak out against its practices," the letter said. 

"We cannot cede responsibility for the use of the technology we create--particularly when we have reason to believe that it is being used to aid practices so irreconcilable to our values.

"We recognise the explicit policy of separating children at the border has been stopped, but that simply returns us to a status quo of detaining children with their parents at the border.

"We believe it is vital for Salesforce to stand up against both the practice that inspired this letter and any future attempts to merely make this destructive state of affairs more palatable."

The letter has emerged only days after Amazon employees demanded that its public cloud arm Amazon Web Services (AWS) review the use of its facial recognition technology with the US' Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), saying the use of tech was just another opportunity for the government to spy on individuals.

Among widespread backlash in the tech community, Microsoft's staff, meanwhile, also urged their CEO Satya Nadella to cancel the company's involvement with ICE, and any clients who support ICE, in an open letter signed by more than 100 employees.

Salesforce tweeted that it did not endorse the separation of families, and that, to its knowledge, its services were not being used for this purpose.

"At Salesforce, we believe every human life has equal value & every person must be treated with dignity and respect. We stand against forcibly separating children from their parents & implore the govt to enact humane immigration legislation that keeps families together," the company said.

"While US Customs & Border Protection is a customer, Salesforce is not working with CBP regarding the separation of families at the border. We are not aware of any Salesforce services being used by CBP for this purpose. We will always be vigilant & true to our core values."

When approached by IT Pro for comment,  a spokesperson added: "One of the greatest things about being part of the Salesforce family is that we proudly foster an open exchange of ideas and dialogue.

"We're proud of our employees for being passionate and vocal, and will continue the conversation on this and other important matters."

This article originally appeared at

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