Mark Zuckerberg Forms Advocacy Group to Push Immigration Reform

Silicon Valley seeks more influence in Washington.

Photo Credit: Storyisdead / Flickr


Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is forming an issues advocacy organization with other tech executives, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. The group will focus on comprehensive immigration reform and education, two important issues for a growing sector that relies on young, global talent.

The 28-year-old billionaire tapped college roommate Joe Green to run the organization, and has already rounded up a circle of seasoned consultants, including former Clinton press secretary Joe Lockhart and Republican Strategist Jon Lerner. In 2004, Lerner produced an infamous spot deriding the left as a “tax-hiking, government-expanding, latte-drinking, sushi-eating, Volvo-driving, New-York-Times-reading, body-piercing, Hollywood-loving” freak show.

But this isn’t Zuckerberg’s first waltz with the GOP. Last year, the Facebook CEO encountered protest when hosting a fundraiser for New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, a 2016 prospect. Otherwise, Zuckerberg has kept largely mum on politics, only making two $5,000 donations ever to Facebook’s political action committee.

But Zuck and Silicon Valley’s interest in comprehensive immigration reform rings clear, given that much of its success hinges on hiring the top tier of young innovators from all over the world. On March 14, Zuckerberg and more than 60 other tech executives voiced their stake in a letter to President Obama and congressional leaders:

We believe that numerical levels and categories for high-skilled nonimmigrant and immigrant visas should be responsive to market needs and, where appropriate, include mechanisms to fluctuate based on objective standards.

Politico reports the advocacy group will also support efforts to create a pathway for citizenship for undocumented Americans.

According to the Chronicle, the Silicon Valley circle will also tackle education policy. Zuckerberg is no stranger to that issue, having donated $100 million to New Jersey public schools in 2010.




Steven Hsieh is an editorial assistant at AlterNet and writer based in Brooklyn. Follow him on Twitter @stevenjhsieh.

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