Facing mounting fury by foreigners angry at the U.S. and eager to take out their ire on American companies, Starbucks has issued a pledge to hire 10,000 refugees around the world over the next five years, and released a statement condemning Donald Trump’s crackdown on Muslim immigrants and his planned Mexican Wall.
The statement 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 Trump’s wall.
Starbucks is vulnerable to international consumer protests against Trump policies because it has a significant, very visible global footprint in 75 countries.
After it was named by various Mexican boycott organizers on social media, Starbucks defended its operations in that nation. Officials noted that 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.
The statement issued publicly to workers Sunday by CEO Howard Schultz, who said he was writing it with a “heavy heart,” emphasized that the 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 several times last year called for more civility in the presidential campaign, which he once compared to a circus. He said he was “stunned” by Trump’s victory in the election.
Calls in Mexico for boycotts of American companies through such Twitter sites as #AdiosStarbucks and #AdiosProductosGringos began popping after the cancelled meeting last week between Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto and Trump over the U.S. president’s continued insistence that Mexico would 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.