Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz announced over the weekend that his chain of coffee stores will hire 10,000 refugees around the world over the next five years.
Schultz made the announcement in a memo to all Starbucks employees Sunday in response to President Donald Trump's executive order late last week temporarily halting the U.S. refugee resettlement program and temporarily barring people from seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the U.S.
"We have a long history of hiring young people looking for opportunities and a pathway to a new life around the world," Schultz wrote. "This is why we are doubling down on this commitment by working with our equity market employees as well as joint venture and licensed market partners in a concerted effort to welcome and seek opportunities for those fleeing war, violence, persecution and discrimination."
Schultz, who is stepping down as Starbucks CEO later this year, went on to explain Starbuck's hiring commitment, which he said will start in America and then expand worldwide to the 75 other countries where Starbucks operates.
"We will start this effort here in the U.S. by making the initial focus of our hiring efforts on 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," Schultz wrote.
In addition to announcing the hiring commitment, Schultz also re-enforced Starbucks' commitment to "Dreamers," those undocumented immigrants who are legally allowed to stay in in the U.S. thanks to former President Barack Obama's Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals executive order, known as DACA. The program, implemented in 2012, allows immigrants who were illegally brought to the U.S. as minors to apply for renewable two-year permanent work and resident permits until age 31.
Schultz also wrote that Starbucks plans to build "bridges, not walls" with Mexico and doubled down on the company's commitment to provide Starbucks employees with adequate health insurance in light of Trump's pledge to repeal and replace Obamacare.
"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," Schultz explained. "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."
The response to Trump's executive order has been overwhelming. The effects of the order were almost immediately felt as refugees in transit to the U.S. at the time of its signing Friday evening were detained at U.S. ports of entry — some allowed in, while others deported. A federal judge in New York signed an emergency stay late Saturday allowing any refugee with a valid U.S. visa to stay in America.
Still, tens of thousands of people took to their streets or nearest international airport to protest Trump's executive order over the weekend, while lawyers worked overtime pro-bono to provide refugees entering the country with effective legal counsel.
And while the Trump administration doubled down on the executive order Sunday by defending it on cable talk shows and in statements, Senate Democrats announced over the weekend plans to introduce legislation on Monday that would rescind Trump's executive order. The legislation, announced by Sen. Dianne Feinstein, has a good chance of passing if enough Republicans get on board, which may not be a tough sell given that at least four prominent Republicans senators have spoken out against Trump's order: Iowa Sen. Ben Sasse, Arizona Sen. John McCain, South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham and Ohio Sen. Rob Portman.
In addition, Sens. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Tim Scott (R-S.C.) said in a joint statement Sunday that they are uncomfortable with Trump's order because of the impacts it was having on U.S. personnel in America and around the world.