By Zack Downing, Staff Writer
Donald Trump’s presidency has surprised many thus far by staying just as brash and controversial as his campaign was.
He’s signed a flurry of executive orders that have been met with outrage and opposition by half the nation.
One such order was a campaign theme that most people didn’t expect him to follow through on: the ban of travelers from the Middle East.
While not every country (some sources claim he left certain countries alone because of his personal business dealings) was affected, the most important one he barred was Syria.
Syria has been deep in civil war for years, and the refugee crisis has gone from being a sidenote to being one of the main points of political discussion in America and other nations.
Trump’s travel ban not only means regular Syrian citizens aren’t allowed, it means the thousands of refugees from the war aren’t coming in either.
Big names in Hollywood and American business have condemned the restrictions, citing tyranny and breaches of human rights.
The CEOs of mammoth companies like Google, Apple, and Amazon have issued statements against Trump’s orders, matching the general feeling of the nation.
One of the biggest headlines came from Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz, who announced that the company would hire 10,000 refugees over the next 5 years in their branches worldwide.
On January 29, he sent a letter to all employees and branches discussing how the company would, “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.”
Schultz and the Starbucks organization are noted supporters of the Dreamers program, which helps children and young adults who came to America illegally obtain work permits and become real American citizens.
The rising racial tension in the country as well as the potential construction of a U.S-Mexico wall has also inspired Schultz to focus efforts on expanding in Mexico, by opening more stores and hiring more workers in struggling areas.
It’s never been explicitly said, but we can assume that Schultz’s actions are to spitefully combat Trump’s immigration orders.
It starkly contrasts the Trump administration’s message to keep out “potential dangers,” by supporting them in the workplace.
Of course, this announcement came with a lot of controversy. Some have opposed the idea because they think batches of Syrian refugees could contain dangerous terrorists. Others oppose it presumably because they don’t want to be served by Middle Easterners at all.
The hashtag #BoycottStarbucks was trending on Twitter and Facebook, and whether or not Starbucks’ profits will suffer remains to be seen.
So, is what Starbucks is doing a good idea?
One of the main arguments against refugees is their unemployed status, potentially sucking up welfare and not contributing to society.
The mass hiring of refugees will help them and their reputation.
Starbucks’ support of refugees also shows Trump and his supporters that the rest of America won’t back down and accept the xenophobic nature of the nation’s highest office.
I also like the way they went about the announcement. Schultz could have come out and said that President Trump was a racist tyrant, but it isn’t a CEO’s place to make political statements, especially controversial ones.
The hiring of 10,000 Syrian refugees is a political statement without actually making a political statement. It shows their attitude on the current political climate by simply making a business decision.
I don’t support celebrities and CEOs trash talking the president, but I am a fan of opposing him in other ways.
We need to let Trump (and other countries) know that America is not the foreigner-hating country the White House represents us as.
AirBnB tried a similar approach by inviting their clients to rent homes out for free to people affected by the travel ban.
We’ll have to see how many people are actually willing to rent out their homes for free, but it’s a great sentiment.
Let’s keep this passive-aggressive battle against the White House going. It’s not crossing any lines, but it is sending a direct message.