Facing foreigners’ mounting fury toward the U.S. and American companies, Starbucks has issued a pledge to hire 10,000 refugees around the world over the next five years.
The company also released a statement condemning President Donald Trump’s crackdown on Muslim immigrants and his planned wall on the U.S.-Mexico border. It comes as protests roil the U.S. over Trump’s ban on immigrants from seven predominantly Muslim nations, and as Mexicans call for a boycott against Starbucks, McDonald’s, Walmart and Coca-Cola in retaliation for the promised wall.
Starbucks is vulnerable to international consumer protests against Trump’s policies because it has a significant global footprint in 75 countries.
After various Mexican boycott organizers named Starbucks on social media, the company defended its Mexican operations, saying it has invested millions in the country, created more than 7,000 jobs, and that its local operator, Alsea, which operates close to 560 stores, is Mexican-owned, the Business Standard reported.
Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz issued a public statement Sunday, saying he was writing with a “heavy heart” and that his company supports “building bridges, not walls” with Mexico.
As for Trump’s crackdown on Muslim immigrants, Schultz said: “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. 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. We will neither stand by, nor stand silent, as the uncertainty around the new Administration’s actions grows with each passing day.”
Schultz vowed that Starbucks would do “everything possible to support and help” immigrant workers caught up in Trump’s crackdown that has elicited “confusion, surprise and opposition.” He reaffirmed the company’s support for the “Dreamers” program, allowing children of undocumented immigrants to become citizens.
Schultz called for more civility several times during last year’s presidential campaign, which he once compared to a circus. He said he was “stunned” by Trump’s victory in the election.
Mexicans are calling for a boycott of American companies through Twitter sites like #AdiosStarbucks and #AdiosProductosGringos, which began popping up after Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto canceled a meeting with Trump over Trump’s insistence that Mexico will pay for his border wall.
Earlier this month, a Mexican state governor said his administration would no longer buy cars from Ford, calling on others to do the same after the company abruptly canceled a planned investment in the country.
But on Friday, Mexico’s wealthiest individual, Carlos Slim, spoke out against the boycott movement. “They are American businesses that have come to invest in Mexico, to give employment in Mexico, to produce in Mexico,” he said, Reuters reported.