The border detention facilities (concentration camps) filled with children have been at the forefront of political Twitter, with hashtags like #TrumpCamps trending alongside arguments whether to call them concentration camps or not (they’re concentration camps). The shaming appears to have pushed the resignation of the acting US Customs and Border Protection John Sanders and the removal of children from the El Paso location shamed by Associated Press for its unsanitary and inhumane condition.
While the outpouring of donations to help care for immigrant children being imprisoned in the camps continue to be turned away and public outcry against the centers grows, some employees of online seller Wayfair are taking action. After finding out that they were assisting the border camps by selling furniture to contractors working with the government, over 500 employees signed a letter to their CEO decrying the ethics of such a business move.
We, the undersigned, are writing to you from a place of concern and anger about the atrocities being committed at our Southern border. The United States government and its contractors are responsible for the detention and mistreatment of hundreds of thousands of migrants seeking asylum in our country — we want that to end. We also want to be sure that Wayfair has no part in enabling, supporting, or profiting from this practice.
Over the last two days, it has come to our attention that Wayfair has again engaged in B2B sales with BCFS, a non-profit government contractor managing camps for migrants at our Southern border. This particular order, for over $200,000 worth of bedroom furniture, is destined for Carrizo Springs, TX, to a facility that will be outfitted to detain up to 3,000 migrant children seeking legal asylum in the United States. The practice of detaining children and adults at our Southern border has been condemned since its inception but since the acceleration of the practice in 2018, and the increase in death and injury that has come with that acceleration, we have seen more vocal condemnation of the practice. In particular, the UN stated that, “Detention is never in the best interests of the child and always constitutes a child rights violation.” We believe that by selling these (or any) products to BCFS or similar contractors we are enabling this violation and are complicit in furthering the inhumane actions of our government.- via The Boston Globe
In response, Wayfair’s management team stated that “No matter how strongly any one of us feels about an issue, it is important to keep in mind that not all employees or customers agree.” Furthermore, “As a retailer, it is standard practice to fulfill orders for all customers and we believe it is our
business to sell to any customer who is acting within the laws of the countries within which we operate.” The closing remarks made it clear that the company believes the money made from the sales is more important than avoiding complicity with a government that separates children from their families in filthy detention centers when they LEGALLY attempt to immigrate to the US. The CEO declined to donate proceeds from the sales to BCFS to RAICES (Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services).
Multiple Wayfair employees took to social media to reveal the company’s ties to the camps and its refusal to donate the money, as well as their intentions to walk out of work on June 26 to protest the actions.
tl;dr - Wayfair sold beds to furnish border camps; 547 employees signed a petition to ask that we cease all business with border camps; CEO said no —>employees are walking out tmrw at 1:30pm. We ask that Wayfair donate all profits made from the sale to RAICES #WayfairWalkout— wayfairwalkout (@wayfairwalkout) June 25, 2019
Many on Twitter stood with Wayfair employees in their protest of the company’s actions. Others missed the point completely, wondering why liberals would deny kids beds to sleep on with a boycott of Wayfair. Obviously, the idea isn’t to deny the children anything but to stop cooperating with the government’s use of the camps to detain immigrants legally seeking asylum in the US. No one should be profiting from such things, especially when the administration argues that these children don’t need soap and toothpaste to remain healthy and clean in the centers.
More overwhelming were the people siding with Wayfair employees.
As a property manager, vacation rental host, and son of refugees, until I see evidence that @Wayfair and all of their other brands no longer profit off of the incarceration of juveniles and other vulnerable immigrants, they will no longer profit from my business #WayfairWalkout— brandelion (@amipetiteyet) June 25, 2019
In awe of the employees at @Wayfair holding their CEO accountable for doing business with contractors furnishing border camps. Apparently, $86,000 is all it takes to sell out the needs of immigrant children. #wayfairwalkout— Ashley Christ (@ashlylorraine) June 25, 2019
More of this across more companies, please.
I suppose we will find out exactly what power the people still have over corporate greed and senseless inhumanity when the employees stage their protest tomorrow.
Header Image Source: Getty Images