Workers from online home goods retailer Wayfair are walking out today to protest their employer’s sale of beds to an immigrant detention center.
The employees want the company to cancel its contract to supply the beds and donate the money it’s made from the sale so far to a group that helps immigrant children. Wayfair executives refused, saying they “believe in the importance of respecting diversity of thought within our organization and across our customer base.”
It’s the latest example of the growing backlash against corporations who do business with the US immigration system. Activists have been fighting US president Donald Trump’s immigration crackdown by targeting his Department of Homeland Security in the streets and in courts. Going after companies is emerging as an indirect—and sometimes effective—way to fight Trump’s immigration crackdown.
A campaign that included serenading JPMorgan Chase chief executive Jamie Dimon with a mariachi band successfully pressured the bank earlier this year to pull out its money from private prison companies the government has contracted to hold immigrants. Wells Fargo has said it is doing the same.
Airlines, too, have distanced themselves from Trump’s policies. At least six of them said last year they wouldn’t transport children separated from parents by the Trump administration’s policies.
Others efforts haven’t been as successful. Workers at Microsoft and Amazon tried, but failed, to get their employers to stop doing business with US Immigration Customs and Enforcement, the agency in charge of rounding up immigrants.
Some who are sympathetic to the immigrants’ cause point out the strategy could backfire.