Starbucks has announced its plans to recruit as many as 10,000 refugees over the next five years across 75 countries. The move comes in the wake of US President Donald Trump’s controversial travel ban imposed on seven countries.
Chairman and CEO Howard Schultz said that refugees will be hired in stores across countries where the coffee retailer does business. The move would begin in the United States. The focus of the effort, Schultz added, would be to recruit immigrants "who have served with US troops as interpreters and support personnel."
Schultz also expressed his support towards the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. As part of the program, initiated by former US President Barack Obama in 2012, undocumented immigrants brought into the country as children are helped in obtaining their driver’s licenses and securing jobs. Starbucks is "ready to help and support our Mexican customers, partners and their families" if the travel ban affects their businesses, Schultz said.
As reported by the Associated Press (via ABC News), Schultz, who supported former US secretary of state Hillary Clinton during the presidential run, was also critical of several aspects of Trump’s agenda – including repealing Obama’s health care law. In his letter, Schultz said the company will support coffee growers in Mexico and provide health insurance to workers if the health care law is repealed.
"We are in business to inspire and nurture the human spirit, one person, one cup and one neighbourhood at a time," Schultz said in his letter. "That will not change. You have my word on that."
He added, "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." General Electric CEO Jeff Immelt has also expressed concern over the travel ban. In a message to the employees, Immelt said he shared their “concern” over the ban.
He noted that several of the company’s employees are from the countries listed in the travel ban. Immelt is one of nearly 30 leaders named to a council last week who will advise the US president on manufacturing growth.
Other tech giants, including Apple, have been critical of Trump’s move. Apple CEO Tim Cook said in a letter, obtained by CNN, that he shared the “deep concerns” among the company’s employees. Highlighting that immigrants have been critical towards the growth of Apple, he said the company will be offering assistance to the employees. "Apple would not exist without immigration, let alone thrive and innovate the way we do," Cook said.