New players have joined the push for comprehensive immigration reform. Mark Zuckerberg the founder and CEO of Facebook started and is heading an immigration lobbying group called “FWD.us”. The groups primary objective is to add to the existing support for Comprehensive Immigration Reform (CIR). He began his campaign with some well placed television ads designed to support members of the GOP. These members support is essential towards passing immigration reform.
As of late we have seen a stonger push and more zeal coming from the Zuckerberg groups campaigning, extending his arguments past that of only tech-related areas such as silicon valley but is now emphasizing the need for comprehensive immigration reform. Zuckerberg’s group supports the inclusion of a pathway to citizenship for the millions of undocumented immigrants currently residing in the U.S.
Zuckerberg is said to be attending a premiere of a documentary about unauthorized immigrants – possibly a move to broaden his lobbying groups areas of concern. The film, an original screenplay was written by immigration activist Jose Antonio Vargas. Some are viewing Zuckerberg’s attendance at the premiere as a sign that immigration lobbyists from silicon valley have now joined the push for CIR.
Also in the FWD.us group is former CEO of Groupon, Andrew Mason. Mason has been recently gathering support for the more longstanding issue of expanding the H1B program for the tech industry. His attendance at FWD.us’s Chicago Immigration forum provided a platform for entrepreneurs of various sizes to examine the difficulties of attracting and retaining highly skilled workers. This argument has been in the mix since the debut of immigration reform.
Some sources designate that Zuckerberg’s group is advocating a significant increase in the number of awarded H1B visas, the implementation of a startup program for immigrants who raise capital for the U.S. through entrepreneurial activieis as well as a more efficient route for foreign students concentrating in the sciences.
Although the extra support of FWD.us is a great push for CIR and the unity of immigration advocates helps build a stronger foundation for the bill, the GOP house members are still in control of its fate. Let’s just hope that they will “friend” Mr. Zuckerberg and FWD.us.