Companies Are Taking A Stand For Immigrants and Refugees
The day after President Trump signed an executive order that drastically alters immigration, people across the US went to airports to protest it. Some companies are also not thrilled with Trump’s executive order.
Starbucks has taken the strongest stance against the executive order. Starbuck’s CEO Howard Schultz stated in a letter that the company is “developing plans” to hire 10,000 refugees over a five-year period in the 75 countries where it does business. It will begin in the US by focusing on hiring people who served as interpreters and support personnel with US troops. Schultz also declared in the letter that Starbucks will “stand by, nor stand silent, as the uncertainty around the new Administration’s actions grows with each passing day.”
Some restaurants are banding together to take a stand for immigrants through Sanctuary Restaurants, a project of the Restaurant Opportunities Centers (ROC) United and Presente.org. It serves as a website that provides information to restaurant owners, customers, and workers “to help create the world we want to see – a world free from hate, discrimination, and harassment,” the website notes. Dozens of restaurants across the country are participating, including an open letter sent to then President-elect Trump. The letter called for Trump to “choose a plan for an achievable path to citizenship for all workers over deportation.”
On February 5, nearly 100 companies filed a legal brief denouncing Trump’s executive order, including Apple, Zynga, Airbnb, Facebook, Netflix, Google, Intel, Uber Technologies, Levi Strauss, and Chobani. Filed in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, the legal brief points out that the executive order is a “significant departure from the principles of fairness and predictability that have governed the immigration system of the United States for more than fifty years.” As a result, “significant harm” will be inflicted on “American business, innovation, and growth as a result,” according to the brief.
The Greek yogurt company, Chobani is owned by Hamdi Ulukaya, who emigrated from Turkey. He told Bloomberg he is “very concerned” about the executive order. In a memo to employees obtained by Bloomberg, he stated that it “is very personal for me.” The reason is that he is an “an immigrant who came to this country looking for opportunity.” Chobani “we’ll have their backs every day and every step of the way.”
Other companies that participated in the filing of the legal brief have released public statements about the executive order. Facebook CEO and Co-Founder Mark Zuckerberg stated in a post that he is “concerned about the impact of the recent executive orders signed by President Trump.” Airbnb CEO, Brian Chesky sent an email to employees stating that the company will provide “free accommodations” to people who may have been affected by the travel ban.
What the statements and actions by all of these companies who are concerned about the executive order reminds us is that business can lead the way when it comes to standing up to public policy seen as bad for business. During the George W. Bush administration, the business sustainability movement came into full being. Then, as now, business will not be sitting idly by while the President enacts policies that are harmful to Americans—and to US business.