The push for immigration reform has been coming from all corners of the political and business worlds, but one particular group is probably operating with a bit more funding than the others.
FWD.us, founded and paid for by Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerburg, former Microsoft CEO Bill Gates and several other technology industry heavyweights, has been actively pursuing a revamp of the country’s immigration system, and it has been doing so by using some of the deepest pockets in the entire lobbying and advocacy industry.
Instead of spending a lot of time, money and effort on specific issues in the immigration debate, like a path to citizenship for the 11 million undocumented workers currently living in the U.S., FWD.us has focused much of its energy on backing political candidates who are sympathetic to the cause. That approach, while different from the work of most immigration reform groups, has served an important purpose, giving political shelter to legislators who might otherwise have been afraid to take on a controversial issue like immigration reform.
However, with immigration reform legislation now stalled in the House of Representatives, FWD.us is starting to change its strategy, recently announcing a round of television and Internet ads that will be covering the air and digital waves throughout the last several weeks of 2013.
Change in tactics
The delay in passing legislation to fix the immigration system has led FWD.us to branch out into several new areas of advocacy. The new ads, which are non-partisan, feature quotes from President Barack Obama and other political leaders criticizing the delay in passing meaningful reform.
FWD.us also recently announced the hiring of Bebo executive Darius Contractor to be the organization’s new chief technology officer. He will work with groups of programmers to push for public support of immigration reform, including the expansion of the H-1B visa program.