Zuckerberg Makes Case for Immigration Reform

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg spoke out publicly for the first time for immigration reform Monday night, saying Silicon Valley’s backing of legislation in Congress is more than just a self-interested hunt for foreign tech workers.

Mark Zuckerberg“This is something we believe is really important for the future of our country,” Zuckerberg said at the premiere of the film Documented, made by writer and activist Jose Antonio Vargas, a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter who also was an undocumented immigrant.

“We talk about high-skilled H1-Bs and full comprehensive immigration reform as if they are two separate issues,” Zuckerberg said. “But anyone who knows immigration knows that they’re not.”

See our Special Report on H-1Bs.

The tech industry, including FWD.us, a group Zuckerberg created, has been intensely lobbying Congress to raise the cap on H-1B visas. The bill passed in the Senate holds the potential to triple the 65,000 H-1Bs granted now. So far, the House has refused to consider the measure.

Zuckerberg told the premiere audience in San Francisco that he founded FWD.us after working with a group of middle schoolers. When asked what they’re most afraid of, one boy said he feared being unable to attend college because he is undocumented.

Though essentially a lobbying group, FWD.us has been rocked by high-profile defections after its support for conservative lawmakers who back controversial policies such as Arctic oil drilling and the building of the Keystone XL pipeline was revealed. Now the group is focused on redefining its public image, stressing that it has more than just self-interest at heart.

“When we started Fwd., we insisted — as we insist today — at comprehensive immigration reform,” FWD.us President Joe Green said at the film premiere, according to All Things Digital. “Immigration is who we are.”

The fate of immigration reform remains uncertain in the House. Speaker John Boehner has said the chamber won’t take up the Senate bill, but instead will craft its own legislation – and it’s in no hurry to do so. It won’t take up the matter until after its August recess, and even then it’s likely to draft a series of smaller bills rather than the sweeping reform that the Senate envisions.

Comments

  1. BY johngalt2001 says:

    He’s right, it’s more than H1b workers. It *ALSO* would bring about a drastic shift of the political landscape of the US, and not in a good way. It will legitimize people who come here to leech off the hard work of thoe last handful of us who still have jobs, while penalizing the people came here legitimately and *EARNED* their own way. I’ve heard of legitimate recent immigrants who despise this amnesty programme, because these people actually followed the rules and earned their place in our society, rather than expecting everything to be handed to them.

    Come on, we already have too many natively-born slackers here, let’s make sure the people who come here are coming here to make a contribution to the growth of our country (if it’s even possible for us to grow anymore).

  2. BY Tim says:

    It’s easy for Zuck to make sweeping comments and intentionally muddy the water. H1Bs are guest workers, undocumented aliens are not guest workers. These indeed are TWO SEPARATE ISSUES.

    H1Bs are here at the request of tech companies who are too f-ing cheap and greedy and want cheap labor that has a pulse. The absurd idea that there are 3x more smarter people in India and China than here in the USA is ridiculous, which is what Zuck and other overpaid tech kids want you to believe. They’re convinced by their own arrogance that the majority of Americans are stupid and we need to get more smart people imported from outside the USA, because most Americans don’t go to Harvard, or Stanford, and thusly, they must be of low intelligence. The larger question is, if these guest workers are so smart Zuck, why don’t you simply move to India or China and save yourself all the lobbying? Duh!

    Undocumented Aliens are here for other reasons. If you’re undocumented you most likely will not get far in the tech business simply because of the paperwork requirements and exposure to employment requirements. Some probably slip through but I’m not sure that many do. Undocumented alien children and H1Bs are TWO DIFFERENT ISSUES.

    It’s really about our own country perpetuating the “I got mine you go get yours” and “every man for themselves” mentality in many of the big companies pushing for H1s. The reality is, our technology sector runs on English, our computer languages run on English, and if English is not your first language, you will never think and innovate the same way. Hard fact, hard truth. This is why I and other Americans continue to see guest workers basically doing little in terms of innovation. Most guest workers typically do mundane tasks that allow them to work with their limited English skills, working in ticketed environments. I have never ever ever ever seen code from an Indian or even Chinese that represents something more than what an American can produce, end of story. This myth that offshores have better skills is just utter bullshit. We end up teaching these people instead of them bringing anything to the table that WE might learn from them. We should be teaching our own to code, teaching our own to innovate.

    Instead, we need to create a stronger culture of education and re-training of our own, investing in OUR PEOPLE not people from somewhere else that are simply coming here because corporate america wants to express their greed through cheap labor from offshore.

  3. BY Steve in AZ says:

    I have no problems with the issuing of the occasional H1B visa to a needed rocket scientist, but otherwise the cap on the H1B visa needs to be reduced to something close to ZERO. You cannot tell me that all the unemployed US-citizen technology workers are less-skilled than workers brought in from a 3rd-world country to fill the same positions. If the federal government is going to continue with this nonsense, it had better come up with a financial allowance to pay the current crop of unemployed workers that were born here and can’t get work despite jumping through the hoops of modern-day HR cyborg systems (HR computers doing screening, and the occasional odd human that won’t hire a computer programmer simply for not having the specialized knowledge of operating a cash register or balancing a tray of food on one shoulder). Not that I am in favor of putting everyone on permanent welfare or permanent (not the silly 99-week limit) unemployment insurance, but things are going to collapse soon with the current trend. The current legislation you can assume to be DOA, and the current Senators and representatives should be docked all of their pay for the entire session, since they haven’t passed any bills that they BOTH agreed. Actually, they should all be fired. That’s what happens to people in priovate industry who don’t do their work!

  4. BY TruthSayer says:

    Zuck makes case for replacing American workforce, please read this and it’s not an isolated case we can take a look at the current IT workforce in major companies in south California
    “Fired IT workers file lawsuit claiming H-1B workers replaced them”

  5. BY Fred Bosick says:

    That’s OK. It’s easier to give FaceBook updates while flipping burgers.

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