Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced FWD.us in a Washington Post column today, an advocacy group made of Silicon Valley leaders dedicated to passing bipartisan immigration reform.
“We have a strange immigration policy for a nation of immigrants,” Zuckerberg wrote. “And it’s a policy unfit for today’s world.”
In the column, Zuckerberg recalled that his great-grandparents immigrated to America through Ellis Island, that his grandfathers served as a mailman and a police officer, that his parents are doctors, and that he, in turn, became the young founder of one of America’s largest and most successful internet companies. Well, okay, he may have worded it more humbly.
“I started a company,” Zuckerberg wrote. “None of this could have happened without a welcoming immigration policy, a great education system and the world’s leading scientific community that created the Internet.”
Facebook’s CEO called for comprehensive immigration reform that includes effective border security alongside a path to citizenship that attracts “the most talented and hardest-working people, no matter where they were born.” He wants higher standards in schools and a greater emphasis on STEM subjects: science, technology, engineering, and math. Lastly, he wants investments in breakthrough discoveries that benefit the public, not just a few.
“We will work with members of Congress from both parties, the administration and state and local officials,” Zuckerberg wrote. “We will use online and offline advocacy tools to build support for policy changes, and we will strongly support those willing to take the tough stands necessary to promote these policies in Washington.”
FWD.us members include such tech heavyweights as Eric Schmidt, Executive Chairman of Google; Reid Hoffman, Executive VP of PayPal and a co-founder of LinkedIn; Drew Houston, founder and CEO of Dropbox; and many others.
The Senate’s Gang of Eight senators tasked with producing a comprehensive immigration reform bill intend to do so any time now. The bill, regardless of what is in it, will spark further debate in Congress over what form a path to citizenship will take and to whom it should be extended.
The change of a bipartisan bill passing through Congress has increased since Republicans suffered a frustrating defeat in November, despite a feeling of certainty within conservative media that voters were tired of President Barack Obama. Republicans now hope to attract more Hispanic voters and other minorities before 2016 becomes a repeat of 2012.
Facebook’s CEO and other tech giants see the opening for passing real immigration reform. Lets see what comes of it.