In letter, Marriott CEO asks Trump not to deport undocumented immigrants

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Arne Sorenson
Arne Sorenson

Marriott International CEO Arne Sorenson made a plea for President-elect Donald Trump to maintain equal rights for minorities and the LGBT community and to not make good on his threat to deport undocumented immigrants.

"Everyone, no matter their sexual orientation or identity, has a right to live without interference in their private lives," Sorenson wrote in a letter posted on his LinkedIn page. "Similarly, everyone, no matter their sexual orientation or identity, gender, race, religion disability or ethnicity should have an equal opportunity to get a job, start a business or be served by a business."

Sorenson also urged Trump not to make it more difficult for overseas tourists to visit the U.S., writing that the country should "keep the welcome mat out for foreign travelers."

Additionally, Sorenson wrote of the federal government's need to improve its "woefully outdated and dilapidated infrastructure."

The sentiments from Sorenson, who heads the world's largest hotel company, are consistent with concerns previously expressed by travel industry leaders over Trump's campaign threats to deport undocumented workers -- many of whom make up the hospitality workforce -- and to tighten border security to the point of restricting international travel.

"Let's take appropriate steps to ensure that these 11 million [undocumented immigrants] can help make America stronger by paying taxes, investing in the future and continuing to contribute to our communities. It is impractical and heartless to think that we will evict all these people. Let's find a way to let them live their lives productively," Sorensen wrote.

Loews Hotels & Resorts chairman Jonathan Tisch, in the keynote speech at June's New York University Hospitality Conference, decried the prospect of what he called "Fortress America." Tisch, who didn't mention Trump by name, cited the economic damage caused by restrictive border policies enacted in the wake of the 9/11 attacks. Sorenson, who also didn't say Trump's name at the time, expressed concern over "demonizing foreigners" and "overstating risks."

Trump's family oversees 15 hotels worldwide.

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