Starbucks (SBUX) CEO Howard Schultz sent out a company-wide letter following President Donald Trump’s decision to sign an executive order that bans citizens of seven majority Muslim countries from entering the United States.
Schultz’s letter detailed plans to hire 10,000 refugees in the countries where the coffee chain operates. This was met with some backlash on social media, with some users calling for a boycott of Starbucks.
The executive order, signed on Friday, temporarily halts citizens from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen from entering the US.
“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 wrote.
He continued: “These uncertain times call for different measures and communication tools than we have used in the past. Kevin and I are going to accelerate our commitment to communicating with you more frequently, including leveraging new technology platforms moving forward. 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, and want to use a faster, more immediate form of communication to engage with you on matters that concern us all as partners.”
Schultz’s letter went on to detail some of the actions the company is taking, including plans to hire 10,000 refugees.
“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.
He continued: “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. 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.”
Afterward, the hashtag #BoycottStarbucks started trending on Twitter.
— The Trump Train (@The_Trump_Train) January 30, 2017
— Raven (@KazeSkyz) January 30, 2017
Starbucks already has a program in place dedicated to hiring military veterans.
— #ThankYouTrump (@MAGAUSA1) January 30, 2017
— Slowly but (@shirlmercy) January 30, 2017
Others on social media used the hashtag to show their support for the company.
Thank you, @Starbucks CEO for committing to hire 10,000 refugees.
To all those tweeting #boycottstarbucks, thanks for the shorter line.
— nikita (@nikitakhara) January 30, 2017
— Candy Kirby (@candykirby) January 30, 2017
In addition, Schultz also wrote about Starbucks’ operations in Mexico. Social media users in Mexico had called for boycotts of US companies, including Starbucks.
“We have been open for business in Mexico since 2002, and have since opened 600 stores in 60 cities across the country, which together employ over 7,000 Mexican partners who proudly wear the green apron. We have sourced coffee from Mexico’s producers and their families for three decades and last fall, we also announced the creation of a farmer support center in Chiapas to help accelerate our collective ability to grow and export some of the world’s finest coffees from this important growing region, while donating more than $2 million to support the livelihood, food security and water quality of coffee producing communities in Oaxaca,” Schultz wrote.
He added: “With the support of thousands of Starbucks partners and millions of customers, we have also donated half a million coffee trees to support 70,000 families, and we will be expanding the initiative this year to generate another 4 million tree donations. Coffee is what unites our common heritage, and as I told Alberto Torrado, the leader of our partnership with Alsea in Mexico, 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.”
Last week, Trump put out additional orders aimed to crack down on illegal immigration, including a measure expanding the authority of local law enforcement officers to enforce immigration laws, among other policies. Trump also announced that it was his administration’s policy to immediately begin construction of a wall along the US-Mexican border.
Julia La Roche is a finance reporter at Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter.