As lawmakers in Washington D.C. continue to debate immigration reform, Facebook’s Mark Zuckerburg has jump-started a group to help undocumented youth find a voice.
Working with high school kids in a community outreach event, Zuckerberg, chief executive officer of Facebook Inc., asked one of the particularly bright students about college plans after graduation. As it turns out, college wasn’t a likely option for this particular student.
The student, who had come to the U.S. with his parents when he was a baby, lacked documentation. Zuckerberg’s up-close experience in seeing how smart, hardworking, undocumented youth — DREAMers — bear the brunt of the current immigration policy’s negative ramifications was a problem he wasn’t willing to ignore. The group is a nonprofit organization funded by some of the heaviest hitters in the tech industry. Among Zuckerburg, the backers of Fwd.us include founder of LinkedIn Reid Hoffman, Google chairman Eric Schmidt and Microsoft founder Bill Gates. Fwd.us plans to lobby Washington lawmakers to move forward on agendas central to education, business and immigration reform.
The organization has the distinct markings of how the high-tech world operates — moving quickly, identifying bugs as they come up and then addressing them as needed. It’s a winning formula in the virtual world and one Fwd.us founders believe can be applied to the political world of Washington D.C.
Fwd.us identifies it’s assets as control of massive distributions channels, leadership credibility and monetary resources.
“If deployed properly, this can have a huge influence in the current campaign finances environment,” according to a Fwd.us document reported in The Times of London.
Through Fwd.us’s continuing presence, Zuckerberg’s influence on the immigration debate will grow in 2014.
“You may not agree with him, but when Mark has a vision, he carries it forward,” said Joe Green, a long-time Zuckerberg friend and head of the political arm of Fwd.us.