NEW YORK — Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and other Silicon Valley leaders have formally launched a political group aimed at revamping immigration policy, boosting education and encouraging investment in scientific research.
Zuckerberg announced the formation of Fwd.us (pronounced "forward us") in an op-ed article in The Washington Post late Wednesday night. In it, he said the U.S. needs a new approach to these issues if it is to get ahead economically. This includes offering a path to citizenship for the 11 million or so immigrants who now live in the U.S. illegally.
"We have a strange immigration policy for a nation of immigrants," Zuckerberg wrote. "And it's a policy unfit for today's world."
Zuckerberg, whose great-grandparents were immigrants, said he wants "comprehensive immigration reform that begins with effective border security, allows a path to citizenship and lets us attract the most talented and hardest-working people, no matter where they were born."
The move comes at an opportune time. Zuckerberg's goals echo a sweeping immigration bill that a bipartisan Senate group is expected to roll out in the coming days.
Companies such as Microsoft and Google, along with New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, have been pushing to make it easier for highly skilled workers and entrepreneurs to work in the U.S. Although Fwd.us supports increasing the number of visas available to these workers, its goals are broader.
Zuckerberg also called for higher standards and accountability in schools and increased focus on learning about science, technology, engineering and math. Today's knowledge and ideas-based economy, the 28-year-old Harvard dropout wrote, is very different from the economy of the 20th century that was based on natural resources, industrial machines and labor.
Fwd.us, he said, was created to "to build the knowledge economy the United States needs to ensure more jobs, innovation and investment."