Contrary to a fake ad promoted by social media users, the coffee-shop giant Starbucks will not be offering discounts to undocumented immigrants on August 11, the company has confirmed.
Created by internet trolls, the fraudulent ad titled "Starbucks Dreamer Day" reads, "All undocumented Americans will receive any item on the Starbucks menu 40 percent off" with the hashtag #BorderFreeCoffee. The word "Dreamer" is often associated with a group of undocumented immigrants brought to the country as children, as it's named after a 16-year-old bipartisan immigration bill that seeks to legalize this group of people.
John Kelly, the Starbucks senior vice president of global communications, told The Associated Press over the weekend that the rumor is "completely false. One hundred percent fake." The company has also taken to Twitter to respond to internet users who have promulgated the fake ad.
Internet trolls seized on the opportunity to market Starbucks to immigrants because the company is known for its progressive hiring practices, like setting goals to hire thousands of refugees and veterans.
The origin of the ad appears to come from the website 4chan. The point of the ad, as the creator pointed out on 4chan, is to get undocumented immigrants to go to Starbucks to ask for "free stuff," a claim that perpetuates the myth that these people are freeloaders on U.S. society. Users have also suggested calling the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency to target Starbucks on Friday the 11th so that immigrants can be detained and potentially deported at the shops.
The ad is insulting in large part because it hypes up the rhetoric that undocumented immigrants are takers and not makers in the United States. The myth works exceedingly well because undocumented immigrants are already viewed as "criminals" despite the fact that federal immigration laws are enforced through civil proceedings. This view presents a very black-and-white portrayal that disregards the reasons why people, and their ancestors, come to the United States in the first place like fleeing violence in their home countries.