Salesforce Inc

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A US-based cloud computing and AI company whose systems power the Unified Immigration Portal, a database used by US immigration enforcement agencies to monitor and surveil immigrants.

Salesforce, Inc. is a cloud-based software company, headquartered in San Francisco, that focuses on Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems. The company provides cloud, mobile, social, analytics, and AI services.

Salesforce is a major cloud services provider for the U.S. government, including for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). As of July 2024, Salesforce was authorized to provide cloud services to 52 U.S. federal agencies, placing it among the 10 most important providers of cloud services to the federal government, placing it among the 10 most important providers of cloud services to the federal government. Although the company itself has held some direct contracts with the U.S. government, its services to DHS agencies are provided through third-party contractors.

This is the case, for instance, with the Unified Immigration Portal (UIP), which privately owned consulting firm Deloitte has built  the Salesforce CRM platform for Customs and Border Protection (CBP). The UIP facilitates information sharing among CBP, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), as well as Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Department of Justice.

The system provides real-time information across immigration agencies in order to “help to better track individuals as they move through the immigration journey.” The platform uses advanced analytics capabilities, which may include machine learning, AI tools, network analysis, and other advanced analytics platforms. CBP has noted that in the future more agencies might share information through the UIP, such as the Department of State, Department of Labor, and even some Non-Governmental Organizations.

In 2021, the U.S. Government Accountability Office reported that the UIP was used to “track unaccompanied children from the time of apprehension to their referral and placement in HHS-funded shelters.” The UIP also shares biographic data and will eventually automate the tracking process.

Work on the UIP started in 2019 as part of a blanket purchase agreement that CBP awarded Deloitte. In February 2021, the agency awarded the company another $10 million “continue data analytics for UIP” through January 2022. The UIP is powered with data storage and analytics, processing, and AI from Databricks, a company whose investors include Alphabet, Amazon, Microsoft, and Salesforce.

Between 2018 and July 2024, CBP spent an additional $148.5 million on Salesforce products and services. For example, between 2023 and July 2024, CBP awarded two contracts worth a potential $6.4 million to Steampunk, for Salesforce products. The agency previously awarded Steampunk two contracts worth a potential $13 million for Salesforce products. Another $13 million contract was awarded to Accenture that same year for similar purposes.

In June 2018, 650 Salesforce employees demanded that the company cancel one of its contracts with CBP, citing “the inhumane separation of children from their parents” by the agency. CBP had awarded an $836,000 contract to Agility Technologies, for Salesforce planning, training, and testing, three months earlier. In July, Texas immigrant rights organization RAICES turned down a $250,000 donation from Salesforce CEO Marc Benoiff. After not showing up to a scheduled meeting with RAICES, Benioff said he was busy scuba diving.

Beinoff argued that Salesforce products were not directly related to family separation and decided to continue working with CBP, although he later claimed to have “struggled with the decision.” However, later that year, Salesforce took its relationship with CBP to a new level, selling over $48 million in licenses to the agency and millions more in third-party contracts for Salesforce-related services, including the “use of Salesforce Platform as a Service (PAAS) throughout CBP.”

Unless specified otherwise, the information in this page is valid as of
12 July 2024