Starbucks ceo Howard Schultz made the pledge in an open letter to staff expressing his “confusion, surprise and opposition” to the executive order signed on Friday (January 20).
Schultz said the order effectively banned people from “several predominantly Muslim countries” from entering the US, including “refugees fleeing wars”.
The Starbucks boss said the company had a long history of hiring young people looking for opportunities around the world. Starbucks would make a concerted effort to welcome those “fleeing war, violence, persecution and discrimination”, he said.
“There are more than 65M citizens of the world recognised as refugees by the United Nations, and we are developing plans to hire 10,000 of them over five years in the 75 countries around the world where Starbucks does business,” said Schultz.
The coffee chain planned to start the initiative in the US by hiring individuals who have served with US troops as interpreters and support personnel overseas.
Start the initiative in the US
Commenting on the president’s controversial plan to build a wall between the US and Mexico, in a bid to stop illegal migration and drug smuggling, and proposed trade sanctions, Schultz said the company had been open for business in Mexico since 2002. The company had opened almost 600 stores in 60 cities across Mexico and employed a total workforce of more than 7,000.
The business had sourced coffee from Mexico’s producers for three decades. Last autumn, it announced the creation of a farmer support centre in Chiapas, south east Mexico, to improve coffee sourcing from the region. Starbucks had donated more than $2M to support the livelihood, food security and water quality of coffee-producing communities in the Oaxaca region.
It had also donated more than 1M coffee trees to support 70,000 families and planned to make another 4M tree donations.
Schultz said: “We stand ready to help and support our Mexican customers, partners and their families as they navigate what impact proposed trade sanctions, immigration restrictions and taxes might have on their business and their trust of Americans. But we will continue to invest in this critically important market all the same.”
‘Proposed trade sanctions’
Read the Starbucks boss’s full letter – titled Living our values in uncertain times – here.
Starbucks is the latest of a number of US companies to criticise the immigration ban. Other critics have included Google and Facebook.
The president signed an executive order on Friday, which banned the entry into the US of people from seven countries – Iraq, Iran, Syria, Yemen, Sudan, Libya and Somalia – for a minimum of 90 days and suspended the refugee programme for 120 days.
British passport holders will be unaffected by the new rules, according to foreign secretary Boris Johnson.
Meanwhile, yesterday (January 30) the president sacked his acting attorney general Sally Yates, after she publically doubted the legality of the immigration ban.
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Wanted: 10,000 refugees for job opportunities worldwide
“There are more than 65M citizens of the world recognised as refugees by the United Nations, and we are developing plans to hire 10,000 of them over five years in the 75 countries around the world where Starbucks does business.”
- Howard Schultz, Starbucks