Starbucks’ Response to Trump’s Muslim Ban: We’ll Hire 10K Refugees

Starbucks coffee shop sign

On Friday, president Donald Trump surprised just about everyone with an executive order to bar certain Muslim visitors and refugees from entering the U.S. for up to four months. In response, Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz said the Muslim ban was a threat to the American Dream and pledged to hire 10,000 refugees as a form of protest.

Starbucks to Hire 10,000 Refugees within 5 Years

On Friday, the U.S. president barred all people coming from seven high-risk countries – Syria, Yemen, Iraq, Iran, Sudan, Libya, and Somalia – from entering the country for 90 to 120 days. The ban on Syrian refugees and visitors is indefinite.

Washington met the move with staunch criticism especially because it was without warning. Lawmakers say the decision caused a lot of confusion and around 100 people were detained or sent back home at the nation’s airports. The White House explained it was an emergency measure designed to stop terrorism.

Starbuck’s boss commented Monday on the “unprecedented” move. In a company-wide letter, he said these uncertain times require extraordinary measures. He noted that human rights and civility are both at risk. So, the company will use more immediate means of communications to keep in touch with its employees and partners.

The letter goes into further details on the extraordinary measures the coffee chain giant is willing to take. Schultz unveiled the company has traditionally prioritized young job seekers that look for a better life around the world. So, Starbucks wants to take this commitment to another level by hiring people that flee war-torn countries, persecution, and discrimination.

Schultz cited the United Nation’s official statistics which show that around 65 million people worldwide now have refugee status. So, the company plans to hire as many as 10,000 refugees across 75 countries over half a decade. The CEO unveiled that this plan is under development. Yet it will start in the U.S. where the firm will hire refugees that served as support personnel for the U.S. army in Middle East conflict zones.

The Mexican Boycott

The executive also addressed the situation in Mexico where people boycotted all U.S. businesses including Starbucks. In Mexico, there are 600 coffee shops in five dozen cities. Around 7,000 Mexicans work for the U.S. coffee giant.

Starbucks has been doing business in Mexico for 30 years. In 2016, it expanded its operations to help coffee-producing communities in Mexico. Reportedly, the company has so far invested $2 million in these communities. It also donated 500,000 coffee trees that now help 70,000 Mexican families survive.

Starbucks plans to donate 4 million more plants by the end of 2017.

“Coffee is what unites our common heritage,”

Schultz’s letter reads.

Moreover, Starbucks pledged to help Mexican families and partners in the face of a new wave of trade sanctions and immigration policies. The company also vowed to invest more in the “critically important market”.

Last week, Trump administration unveiled that the plan to build the border wall is in the making and that Mexico will indirectly pay for it through border taxes. President Trump also threatened the so-called sanctuary cities to comply with federal law if they don’t want to lose federal funds.
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