US corporations fight back over Trump's travel ban

Global coffee chain Starbucks has taken a stand against President Donald Trump's ban on asylum seekers or those from seven majority Muslim countries, vowing to hire 10,000 refugees workers worldwide.

It's one response from some other major American businesses which have come out against Mr Trump's executive order which, in part, suspends the US Refugee Admissions Programme for four months and imposes an indefinite  ban on Syrian refugees.

Anyone arriving from Iraq, Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia and Yemen also face a 90-day visa suspension and the Visa Interview Waiver Programme has also been suspended.

A cap of 50,000 refugees to be accepted in 2017 was also introduced - less than half of the 110,000 former President Barack Obama had set.

The decision has caused mass protest around the world, including more than one million people in Britain signing a petition to cancel Mr Trump's visit to the UK.

In a letter to employees, Starbucks chief executive Howard Schultz says Mr Trump's executive order has created "confusion, surprise and opposition".

"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.

"These uncertain times call for different measures and communication tools than we have used in the past," he writes.

In the letter, Mr Schultz lays out what the company, which has around 238,000 employees worldwide, including around 157,000 workers in the US, will do in response to the order.

Among those is a plan to hire 10,000 refugees over five years in the 75 countries where Starbucks operates, with the first focus in the US - particularly those who have served with US troops as interpreters and support personnel.

Airbnb - the online homestay app - has also offered free housing to refugees and anyone else who has been denied boarding onto a US-bound flight and not in their country of residence.

"Not allowing countries or refugees into America is not right, and we must stand with those who are affected," chief executive Brian Chesky wrote on Facebook.

"We have 3M homes, so we can definitely find people a place to stay."

Chief executives of tech companies including Google, Twitter, Facebook and Apple have all issued statements, the latter's Tim Cook said the company "would not exist without immigration".

Google has set up a US$2 million crisis fund which can be equalled by employee donations to four organisations - the American Civil Liberties Union, Immigrant Resource Center, International Rescue Committee and Mercy Corps.

The internet giant also sent a memo to employees urging anyone with a visa or green card from one of the banned countries to cancel travel plans.

"[We are] concerned about the impact of this order and any proposals that could impose restrictions on Googlers and their families, or that could create barriers to bringing great talent to the US."

Microsoft says it is providing legal assistance to 76 employees affected by the travel restrictions.

There are already a number of legal cases against Mr Trump's executive order.

But the White House is steadfast in its decision, with press secretary Sean Spicer telling media Mr Trump is "putting the safety of Americans first".

"We're not going to wait until we and attacked and figure out how we can make sure it doesn't happen again," he says.

"He's going to do everything in his power to stop every threat that we face in this country and every potential threat and that's the key point - how do we get ahead of threats? How do we keep America ahead of the curve when it comes to people who want to do us harm?"

He sought to put the weekend's disruptions into context, saying the restrictions affected 109 people, compared to 325,000 who came into the US over 24 hours.

"I know everyone likes to get to where want to get to as quick as possible, and I think the government did a phenomenal job of making sure we process people through but we did so knowing the people who were coming in hadn't done anything that was seeking to do us harm."   

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