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Posted: January 30, 2017

Starbucks responds to criticism over its refugee hiring plan

Starbucks To Hire 10,000 Refugees In Wake Of Trump Travel Ban

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            Starbucks responds to criticism over its refugee hiring plan
In this Dec. 7, 2016, file photo, Starbucks Chairman and CEO Howard Schultz speaks during the Starbucks 2016 Investor Day meeting in New York. (AP Photo/Richard Drew, File)

By Michelle Ewing

Cox Media Group National Content Desk

WASHINGTON —

Facing criticism from supporters of Trump's executive order on immigration, Starbucks says it is dedicated to hiring both veterans and refugees. 

In response to critics who said Starbucks should give the jobs it was offering to refugees to veterans instead, Starbucks reminded people that it announced plans in 2013 to hire 10,000 veterand and military spouses over the next five years. The company has hired over 8,000 veterans and spouses in that time span, according to Reuters.

In the wake of President Donald Trump's controversial travel ban, Starbucks has announced plans to hire 10,000 refugees worldwide in the next five years.

The company's chairman and CEO, Howard Schultz, revealed the news Sunday in a letter to employees.

>>Starbucks Armed Forces Network responds

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"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," Schultz wrote in the letter, which also was posted on the coffee chain's website. "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."

The announcement sparked backlash on social media and launched the hashtag "BoycottStarbucks" on Twitter.

However, the hashtag was quickly usurped by people who support the Starbucks initiative.

Trump signed an executive order Friday that institutes a 90-day ban on travel to the U.S. by citizens of Syria, Iran, Iraq, Sudan, Libya, Somalia and Yemen, as well as a 120-day suspension of the refugee program. The order also blocks Syrian refugees from coming to the United States indefinitely.

>> Trump administration defends travel ban

The move sparked protests at airports across the country and prompted a court order temporarily barring the U.S. from departing valid visa holders or people with approved refugee applications who were detained in connection with the ban.

"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 in his letter.

Schultz also addressed efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act.

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"If the recent executive order related to health care remains in place and the Affordable Care Act is repealed causing you to lose your healthcare coverage, you will always have the ability to return and can do so within 30 days of losing that coverage rather than having to wait for an open enrollment period," Schultz wrote.

Additionally, Schultz pledged to continue to support Mexican coffee growers and the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program for "Dreamers" who were brought to the U.S. illegally as children.

Read more here.

– The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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