Starbucks pledged to hire 10,000 refugees in direct response to Donald Trump’s executive order indefinitely barring Syrian refugees from entering the country and banning travel from six other Muslim-majority countries.
The coffee retailer’s chairman and CEO Howard Schultz said in a memo to employees on Sunday that the company will be “doubling down” on efforts to support refugees by making the new hires in 75 countries over the next five years.
“I write you today with deep concern, a heavy heart and a resolute promise,” Schultz said.
Starbucks plans to start the hiring process at home by focusing employment efforts toward individuals who have “served with U.S. troops as interpreters and support personnel.” Starbucks also plans to help employees that are enrolled in the government’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, also known as the “Dreamers” program, that helps undocumented children secure work permits and temporary residency status.
“We are living in an unprecedented time,” Schultz said, “one in which we are witness to the conscience of our country, and the promise of the American Dream, being called into question.”
Schultz addressed other proposed Trump initiatives like the expected repeal of Obamacare and the construction of a border wall with Mexico. The company reassured its employees that they will have access to health care regardless of the fate of the Affordable Care Act, and the company pledged to expand an initiative to donate millions of coffee trees to Mexico.
Trump’s executive order issued on Friday effectively bans citizens from Iran, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Sudan, Somalia and Libya from entering the country for at least 90 days, causing chaos and confusion at U.S. international airports over the weekend.
Trump defended the ban in a Facebook message on Sunday, saying the measure will give the administration additional time to review and implement the most secure policies over the next 90 days.
Starbucks wasn’t the only company voicing concern and promising action. Silicon Valley CEOs also stepped up rhetoric denouncing the executive order. Popular ride-sharing service and Uber rival Lyft donated $1 million to the American Civil Liberties Union, while home-sharing service Airbnb offered free housing to refugees not allowed into the U.S.
“We stand firmly against these actions, and will not be silent on issues that threaten the values of our community,” Lyft cofounders Logan Green and John Zimmer said in a joint statement.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk also tweeted his disapproval. “Many people negatively affected by this policy are strong supporters of the U.S.,” Musk said. “They’ve done right, not wrong & don’t deserve to be rejected.”
Image: Starbucks/Joshua Trujillo