Starbucks Responds to Immigration Ban with Uplifting Hiring Plan

Following President Donald Trump’s Jan. 27 executive order barring travel from seven Muslim-majority countries — Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen — Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz announced on Jan. 29 that the company will hire 10,000 refugees in the 75 countries in which it does business, Mother Jones reports.

Schultz, in a message sent to all partners (employees), said:

I write to you today with deep concern, a heavy heart and a resolute promise. Let me begin with the news that is immediately in front of us: we have all been witness to the confusion, surprise and opposition to the Executive Order that President Trump issued on Friday, effectively banning people from several predominantly Muslim countries from entering the United States, including refugees fleeing wars. I can assure you that our Partner Resources team has been in direct contact with the partners who are impacted by this immigration ban, and we are doing everything possible to support and help them to navigate through this confusing period.

We are living in an unprecedented time, one in which we are witness to the conscience of our country, and the promise of the American Dream, being called into question. These uncertain times call for different measures and communication tools than we have used in the past. Kevin and I are going to accelerate our commitment to communicating with you more frequently, including leveraging new technology platforms moving forward. I am hearing the alarm you all are sounding that the civility and human rights we have all taken for granted for so long are under attack, and want to use a faster, more immediate form of communication to engage with you on matters that concern us all as partners.

According to the letter, the refugee-hiring program will give initial priority to “those individuals who have served with U.S. troops as interpreters and support personnel in the various countries where our military has asked for such support.”

The message also denounced a few others of Trump’s controversial decisions, and outlines specific actions to be taken by the company, especially efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act and build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.

Starbucks has and will always stand for opportunity — opportunity for our young people who are working to land their first job in the 75 countries where we do business, opportunity for our farmers who care so deeply for the highest of quality coffee we offer to customers all around the globe, and yes, opportunity for those who come to America in search of their own fresh start — whether that is with Starbucks directly, or through our suppliers or our partner companies.

If there is any lesson to be learned over the last year, it’s that your voice and your vote matter more than ever. We are all obligated to ensure our elected officials hear from us individually and collectively. Starbucks is doing its part; we need you to use the collective power of your voices to do the same while respecting the diverse viewpoints of the 90 million customers who visit our stores in more than 25,000 locations around the world.

So, while we seek to understand what the new Administration’s policies mean for us and our business both domestically and around the world, I can assure you that we will do whatever it takes to support you, our partners, to realize your own dreams and achieve your own opportunities. We are in business to inspire and nurture the human spirit, one person, one cup and one neighborhood at a time — whether that neighborhood is in a Red State or a Blue State; a Christian country or a Muslim country; a divided nation or a united nation. That will not change. You have my word on that.

You can find the letter’s full text here.

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