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Starbucks Announces Plan to Hire 10,000 Refugees Worldwide Over the Next Five Years

Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz published an open letter on Sunday, January 29, in response to President Donald Trump’s controversial immigration ban. In the letter, Schultz, 63, revealed the coffee company’s plan to hire 10,000 refugees worldwide over the next five years.

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“We have a long history of hiring young people looking for opportunities and a pathway to a new life around the world. 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 wrote. “There are more than 65 million citizens of the world recognized 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.”

Starbucks Chairman and CEO Howard Schultz speaks on March 18, 2015, in Seattle.

The businessman went on to say that Starbucks’ first plan of action in this process will be focused on refugees who have previously worked for America’s armed forces. “And 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,” he continued.

Schultz’s letter also addressed Trump’s executive orders to build a wall along the border of the United States and Mexico and to repeal the Affordable Care Act (a.k.a. Obamacare).

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“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,” Schultz wrote, adding that Starbucks will be donating $2 million to the Mexican communities where they source coffee.

And Schultz said that the company’s benefits-eligible employees will always have access to health insurance. He also said Starbucks is willing to work with anyone who is worried that they will lose their coverage if Obamacare is abolished as Trump, 70, says it will be. 

Donald Trump in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 30, 2017.

Schultz isn’t the only one who had a strong reaction to Trump’s decision to indefinitely suspend admissions for Syrian refugees and bar citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries, including Iraq and Iran, from entering the U.S. for at least the next 90 days. Celebrities such as Rihanna, George Takei, Sophia Bush and Mark Zuckerberg denounced Trump’s ban in posts to social media, calling it “shameful,” “evil” and “heartless.”

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“We don’t want them here,” the real estate tycoon said during a Friday, January 27, press conference. “We want to ensure that we are not admitting into our country the very threats our soldiers are fighting overseas. We only want to admit those into our country who will support our country, and love deeply our people.”

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