Businesses that rely on immigrants warn travel ban could hurt economy

Print More
Starbucks Barista, Muslim student from Malaysia

Kendall Ashman

Starbucks Barista Shahida Md Hussin from Malaysia

Airport protests broke out among travelers and families the day after President Donald Trump’s Friday, Jan. 28, executive order restricting entry into the United States. When the workweek began that Monday, a variety of companies lined up to say the ban was bad for business.

Uber received much criticism after CEO Travis Kalanick tweeted that Uber fares were set to a lower price during the protest at JFK airport where two Iraqis with valid U.S. green cards were detained. The New York Taxi Alliance participated in the work stoppage from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. The Guardian wrote that many protesters were upset that Uber was opposed to participating in the work stoppage.  Kalanick was also a part of Trump’s economic advisory group, which led protesters to unite over a viral tweet, #DeleteUber.

The Uber CEO apologized on social media and said Uber was operating so protesters could access transportation. Kalanick also stated in a Facebook post that many Uber drivers are from the listed countries and work in America to support families back home. Kalanick decided to drop out of the advisory group on Feb. 2 and told CNN that the executive order would separate and hurt families all across America.

Other large tech companies such as Apple, Google, Lyft and Microsoft publicly announced statements of concern regarding the impact that their companies and employees will face under the ban.

Big or small, companies across the nation will be affected by the ban. FuelX CEO Mary Lou Song has worked in the tech community for years and explains that the issue affects businesses from tech companies, agriculture, academia and retail. Song said the work force will strongly be hurt by the ban, because immigrants offer success and talent in every field.

“My company includes citizens, first- and second-generation Americans and immigrants,” Song said. “We’re a melting pot. We’re a community. We’re a team.”

Song advises her colleagues to not leave the country because she fears the possible outcome.

“To have a president who doesn’t value the contributions of immigrants is just un-American,” Song said.

Starbucks CEO Howard Shultz was one of the first to comment on the travel ban and vows to hire 10,000 refugees globally within the next five years.

Starbucks barista Shahida Hussin said diversity is a key value that Starbucks wishes to uphold.

“I think diversity is the thing that makes something great, because a lot of people come from different backgrounds but we all can share something,” Hussin said.

Hussin said she was in shock when President Trump announced the executive order and worries for her friends that are from Libya and Syria. Hussin is an international student from Malaysia, which is also majority Muslim but not on the list, and fears that Trump will continue to add more countries to the list.

“I am worried. I am planning to come back in five years to visit Michigan State, and I am worried I won’t be able to,” Hussin said.

Hussin graduates in the spring and says many of her friend’s parents are too afraid to visit for graduation.

Comments are closed.