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Travel

Starbucks, Airbnb pledge support for migrants after Trump ban

US President Donald Trump's border clampdown has stirred Starbucks and Airbnb to help those affected by the temporary immigration ban - pledging to hire more refugees and provide accommodation.

Trump's measures suspend the arrival of all refugees for at least 120 days, Syrian refugees indefinitely and bars citizens from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen for three months, affecting many companies' plans.
With lives plunged in chaos, Starbucks said it planned to take on 10,000 refugees worldwide over the next five years in response to Trump's decree. "I write to you today with deep concern, a heavy heart and a resolute promise," Starbucks chairman and chief executive Howard Schultz said in a letter to employees posted on the company's website Sunday. 

"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, a Democratic Party supporter, said his company had been in touch with employees affected by the Republican president's executive order signed Friday. The CEO said the refugee hires would be fleeing war, persecution and discrimination in the 75 countries where the company operates - with a particular focus on those who "have served with US troops as interpreters and support personnel," alluding to Iraq and Afghanistan.

Airbnb said it would offer free accommodation "to refugees and anyone not allowed in the US. Open doors brings all of US together," tweeted company CEO Brian Chesky, asking those stranded by Trump's ban to contact him for a place to stay. " The company will utilise its disaster response program, which connects hosts willing to offer their space to displaced people. Some 80 percent of the online rental platform's listings are outside of the United States. Airbnb also has measures in place to ensure housing for those in areas where no hosts are providing free shelter.

Other companies also expressed solidarity and pledged hard cash. Lyft, a US ridesharing company, said it would donate $1-million to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), which has issued lawsuits against Trump's measures. The company's competitor Uber - which had come under fire on social media for continuing to operate during a New York taxi strike against the immigration ban - said it was committed to assisting drivers affected by the restrictions.

isi/at (afp)