© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A woman passes the logo from the web search engine provider Google during the digital society festival ‘re:publica’, at the Arena Berlin in Berlin, Germany June 9, 2022. REUTERS/Annegret Hilse/File Photo
By Jeff Mason
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Chief executives from a wide array of U.S. companies will meet White House Chief of Staff Jeff Zients on Thursday to discuss refugee resettlement and sponsorship programs, a White House official said.
The CEOs will include Alphabet (NASDAQ:)’s Sundar Pichai, Walmart (NYSE:)’s Doug McMillon, Pfizer (NYSE:)’s Albert Bourla, HP (NYSE:)’s Enrique Lores and others. They are part of a council of leaders affiliated with Welcome.US, a group dedicated to helping support refugees in the United States.
They will meet Zients and other White House officials “to discuss specific ways we can continue to work together to support safe, orderly pathways for people in need of safety to come to the United States, including through refugee resettlement and new, expanded humanitarian sponsorship programs,” a White House official told Reuters.
Gap CEO Richard Dickson, Accenture (NYSE:) CEO Julie Sweet, Lyft Inc (NASDAQ:) CEO David Risher, Chobani CEO Hamdi Ulukaya, and T-Mobile CEO Mike Sievert were also expected to attend, along with representatives from Airbnb, Blackstone (NYSE:), Comcast (NASDAQ:), Goldman Sachs, Meta (NASDAQ:) and others.
New York Governor Kathy Hochul met Zients and other senior administration officials last month to discuss an influx of migrants in New York City that has strained its resources.
Republicans have hammered Biden, a Democrat, for his policies on immigration, and the issue is likely to feature prominently in the 2024 presidential campaign, when Biden, who is running for re-election, is likely to face former President Donald Trump, the frontrunner for the Republican presidential nomination and an immigration hardliner.
Biden sought at the beginning of his administration to recast the U.S. immigration system, but appetite in Congress for comprehensive reform legislation has been low.
The White House, which says it wants to partner with the private sector to build a humane immigration system, worked with Welcome.US to help Afghan refugees coming to the United States after Biden pulled U.S. troops out of Afghanistan in 2021.
Welcome.US and its CEO Council have worked with the administration to “implement the largest expansion of humanitarian sponsorship pathways to safety in the United States in recent history,” a representative for the group said.