In Donald Trump’s America refugees are not welcomed, but the man who built the country’s bestselling Greek yogurt brand, Chobani, doesn’t care what Trump wants.
Chobani founder Hamdi Ulukaya appeared on CBS’s “60 Minutes,” where he spoke about the importance of hiring refugees and made a point of hiring hundreds at his U.S. plants.
“The minute they get a job, that’s the minute they stop being a refugee,” Ulukaya told Steve Kroft. “They are the most loyal, hard-working people right now in our plant here [in New York]. We have 19 different nationalities, 16 different translators.”
Chobani operates two plants in the U.S., one in upstate New York and the other one in Twin Falls, Idaho.
Ulukaya had already begun to hire refugees when he got attacked by the far-right media. Breitbart News wrote an article where they claimed that the plant brought refugees, crime and tuberculosis to the town.
Ulukaya also said how the Twin Falls mayor received death threats.
“It was an emotional time. People … hate you for doing something right,” Ulukaya said. “There’s not much you can do.”
Since then tensions have cooled and Ulukaya has received support from daho’s Republican governor, Butch Otter.
“I think his care about his employees, whether they be refugees or they be folks that were born 10 miles from where they’re working — I believe his advocacy for that person is no different. And there’s nothing wrong with that,” Otter said.
Ulukaya expressed the hardships of the refugees and how they come to the U.S. for a better life.
“They got here legally. They’ve gone through a most dangerous journey. They lost their family members. They lost everything they have. And here they are. They are either going to be a part of society or they are going to lose it again,” he said of two sisters he employs.
“The No. 1 thing that you can do is provide them jobs. The minute they get a job, that’s the minute they stop being a refugee.”
Ulukaya emigrated from Turkey to the U.S. in 1994 and has used the success of Chobani to help fund philanthropic efforts centered on refugees.