Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and other technologists started an activist group, Fwd.us, in 2013 with the hope that it would have the power to affect immigration policies in the U.S. With a presidential election less than one year away, the group is beginning to increase campaigning of its own. Members of the group include famous technologists, like Bill Gates, co-founder of Microsoft, and Reid Hoffman, founder of LinkedIn. The group is expanding its operations to an additional 12 states and supporting pro-immigration reform politicians for the House of Representatives.
Funding a movement
The group expects to spend about $10 million between advertisements and research from now until the election, according to the International Business Times. In 2013 and 2014, Fwd.us was responsible for approximately 75 percent of contributions to media campaigns supporting positive immigration reform. The efforts following the last presidential election stretched across 29 states and 149 House districts.
“What’s absurd is not just these ‘plans,’ but that those who would seek to represent Americans as president are falling all over themselves to support backward policies that would rip apart American families and collapse our economy,” a spokesman for Fwd.us said in a statement.
Wary of everyone
Although anti-immigration talk is common among a majority of the GOP presidential hopefuls, one candidate stands out: Donald Trump. Throughout his entire campaign, Trump has been responsible for the strongest policies against immigration. In fact, he has repeatedly stated that he wants to deport the millions of undocumented immigrants living in the U.S. and build a giant wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Because of his bold statements in the media, many proponents of immigration reform are quick to make Trump the sole enemy of their cause.
That said, Zuckerberg’s group is careful not to focus on one candidate. In fact, they point out that other presidential candidates, regardless of party affiliation, can be just as problematic for positive immigration reform. Lately, immigration reform activists have expressed dissatisfaction with Ted Cruz, Ben Carson and even Bernie Sanders.
“There is a lot of focus on one candidate, frankly,” Rob Jesmer, a Republican campaign manager at Fwd.us, told Politico. “[But] there are several who are out of the mainstream … From a policy situation if we nominate any of those people we are going to lose. No two ways about it.”