JTA – Howard Schultz, the Jewish billionaire CEO of Starbucks, said his company plans to hire 10,000 refugees over five years in a letter to employees addressing President Donald Trump’s executive order temporarily banning refugees from entering the United States.
“We have all been witness to the confusion, surprise and opposition to the Executive Order that President Trump issued on Friday [Jan. 27], effectively banning people from several predominantly Muslim countries from entering the United States, including refugees fleeing wars,” Schultz wrote in a message sent Sunday [Jan. 29] titled “Living Our Values in Uncertain Times.”
“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.”
Schultz wrote that the “conscience of our country, and the promise of the American Dream” are being called into question. 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.”
Schultz said the efforts to hire refugees will begin in the U.S. and focus on refugees who served with U.S. troops as interpreters and support personnel in foreign countries. He said refugees over the five years will come from 75 countries.
Other areas in which Schultz said he will help employees includes support of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or Dreamers program, including paying the biennial fee that his employees must pay to stay in the program; continuing to assist and buy from coffee farmers in Mexico, and to continue to offer access to health care through Starbucks.