By: Nicole Capo
The wave of immigration reform activists has finally hit Silicon Valley, with none other than Mark Zuckerberg leading the movement out of tech central.
The Facebook co-creator has announced an initiative in 2013 to promote immigration reform, but it appears he’s very specifically trying to protect his own interests with a bit of a catch: If the immigrants in question are skilled in math and science, they should definitely stay in the U.S.
Zuckerberg’s group — which also includes leaders from LinkedIn and Dropbox, among others — is called FWD.us, and will focus on promoting “policies that keep the United States and its citizens competitive in a global economy — including comprehensive immigration reform and education reform.” In an opinion piece for The Washington Post, Zuckerberg talked about his experience working with middle schoolers, including one child of illegal immigrants, and lamented the lack of H-1B visas for “talented specialists.” According to a report by The Atlantic Wire, the majority of H-1B visa holders in Silicon Valley work in "computer, engineering, business, finance, science or managerial occupations." Meanwhile, other non-citizen immigrants end up in the service or production industries. Zuckerberg’s main goal in all of this, it would appear, is to utilize the current trend of support for immigration rights to ensure that the technology sector is benefited.
And, while looking to promote STEM studies and careers isn’t a bad thing, it’s safe to say that that isn’t the only issue surrounding the argument to keep immigrants in the United States. Better border security, better educational opportunities, and bettering the system that allows immigrants to become citizens are all equally important aspects being fought for by supporters of immigration reform — even for those immigrants who don’t want to follow math or technology careers. The United States were founded on the idea of equal opportunity for all, not just those with the smarts for Silicon Valley.
Though, if Zuckerberg were truly looking to benefit his company and those of his peers, he might want to look into adding women’s rights to his argument. Silicon Valley may be largely male-dominated and a problematic place for women, but new studies are showing that girls are just as capable at handling math and science -- and women are far more supportive of immigration reform than men are, anyway.
[Pic via Wikimedia Commons]