Zuckerberg group woos conservatives on immigration

Mark Zuckerberg’s newly formed political advocacy group isn’t wasting time in plunging into the immigration debate, with a new effort that suggests the group won’t be shy about playing modern politics with the big boys and girls.

FWD.us, which was launched earlier this month by Zuckerberg and other Internet industry leaders, has created separate subsidiaries to court conservative and liberal support for immigration reform, according to a new report in Politico.  As a first step, the techies are funding a round of TV ads through an affiliate calling itself “Americans for a Conservative Direction.”

The ads are aimed at convincing conservatives to support an immigration reform package now under debate in Congress, Politico said Wednesday.  Some conservatives are leery of the package’s proposal for creating a pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants, so the ads will emphasize that the reforms call for new border security measures that are “tough,” “bold” and “conservative.”

Americans for a Conservative Direction will spend what Politico calls “seven figures” to run ads in a half-dozen conservative states, where viewers will see Florida GOP Sen. Marco Rubio extolling the proposals.  Ads in a seventh state, South Carolina, will tout the conservative credentials of GOP Sen. Lindsey Graham, who is supporting the proposed reforms at the risk of a re-election challenge from his own party’s right wing.

Immigration reform is at the top of the tech industry’s priority list for government action these days.  While Zuckerberg and other tech leaders have described it as a matter of fairness, they also see economic benefits to making it easier for talented workers and entrepreneurs to join the tech industry here.

According to Politico, the new conservative affiliate of FWD.us has enlisted a number of well-connected Republican advisors including former Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour.  The parent group will also court liberals and independents through a second affiliate called the Council for American Job Growth.

Here’s the Rubio commercial:





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  • conniesz

    What we need in this new bill is a way for H1-B holders to “buy their freedom” for the actual cost of the visa. As it is now the company that sponsors them gets them as a true indentured servent for a period of time (I don’t know exactly what that is and it may vary but two years has been bandied about). For that time period the person has no rights to take a job with a different company even for twice the salary that their “sponsor” is paying them. This is why companies want H1-B workers, not because they are better or more skilled but because they are cheaper and can’t jump ship to take a better position.

    Fix that and there will be a whole lot more support from the tech community work force. Of course companies don’t want that fixed – they like their indentured servents because they don’t have to pay them fairly.

  • griz

    I can understand the frustration of an H1-B worker, however, the company that brought the worker in is responsible for that H1-B worker for a period of time. I know this because I’ve sponsored two people on immigrant visas (which are different).

    During that time, that you have likened to indentured servitude, being bound to your sponsor makes perfect sense. To the best of my knowledge, the legal commitments made by a visa sponsor cannot be transferred.

    All of the H1-B visa workers that I know are paid fairly; one got a $4M signing bonus. I do not know if “fairly” translates into “comparable to other, equally-skilled” workers.

    Be patient, the company’s hold on you will expire quickly.