RAICES Rejects Salesforce Donation

By:  Mary Tuma

Talk about integrity. RAICES – the state’s largest immigrant legal services nonprofit – recently said “no thanks” to a hefty and generous donation from a tech company. When employees with cloud computing company Salesforce pressured their CEO Marc Benioff to nix their contract with U.S. Customs and Border Pro­tection in light of oppressive immigration policies, Benioff instead offered $250,000 to RAICES, who have worked to reunite families separated at the border. (He contends that while CBP is a customer, their work with Salesforce isn’t directly involved in family separations, which makes little difference to many immigrant rights advocates.)

Rather than quietly accepting the funds, RAICES repeated requests that Salesforce terminate the CBP contract. When they refused, the nonprofit declined the money and issued a statement condemning the relationship with the border agency. “When it comes to supporting oppressive, inhumane, and illegal policies, we want to be clear: the only right action is to stop,” said RAICES executive director Jonathan Ryan in an email. “Pledging us a small portion of the money you make from [CBP] contracts will not distract us from your continuing support of this agency. We will not be a beneficiary of your effort to buy your way out of ethical responsibility.”