Letter from Howard Schultz to U.S. Senators Lindsey Graham and Richard Durbin
January 24, 2017
Dear Senators Graham and Durbin,
As an American grown business, with stores in over 7,000 communities across our country, we are proud of the fact that our 150,000 partners (employees) reflect the diverse communities we serve. Inclusion and humanity are fundamental to who we are as a company and to how we approach our communities. We strive to be a place where everyone, from our partners to our customers, feels welcome and valued.
That is why I am writing in recognition of your work to support “Dreamers”, including those young men and women who are part of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. There are now close to three quarters of a million hardworking young women and men who are contributing to our communities and our economy because of that program. They represent the values of hard work, patriotism and hope that define America. At Starbucks, we are proud to call them our partners.
Our DACA partners are going to school, taking care of their families, and working toward realizing their own American dream. Our goal is that they feel as welcome and included as any other partner and we strive to provide them the same opportunities. That is why we reimburse them for the biennial fee they must pay to stay in the program and why we have offered DACA related services at our Opportunity Youth fairs. Still, we know this population faces many barriers, even with DACA. For example, legal impediments prohibit our DACA partners from taking advantage of our college tuition program with Arizona State University. It is thus critical that we voice our support and concern for these special young women and men. Without the ability to lawfully live and work in this country, hundreds of thousands of patriotic young people will be pushed back underground, unable to serve their communities, our economy and, most importantly, their own futures.
We experienced a long and sometimes divisive election; that does not need to define us going forward. Now is the moment to remember what unites us as Americans, including the belief that all people should be treated with dignity and humanity. Dreamers deserve no less. They were brought as children to our country by immigrants determined to give their children a better life, like generations of immigrants before them. As one Dreamer college student said, “I’m thankful for what this country gave me.” We should celebrate and honor that belief, and their enduring courage, by ensuring that Dreamers, including our partners, may live, work, and dream in the country they call home.