Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) is just one of many tech companies that has decried the federal government’s H-1B visa program over the years – the program that many tech companies (and others) use to recruit and hire foreign workers and engineers – saying that there are far more qualified, talented people than there are visas that the government allots each year.
Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) CEO Mark Zuckerberg has been an active advocate for reforming the visa system for years, but revealed in recent months that since he helped found the lobbying group FWD.us, he has found himself getting more heavily involved in advocated for the broader immigration reform that has been discussed for the a majority of President Barack Obama’s first six months of his second term. Monday night, Matt O’Brien of Bay Area New Group reported that Zuckerberg came out from behind the scenes and publicly advocated for immigration reform.
Zuckerberg spoke in San Francisco this week, saying “This is something we believe is really important for the future of our country.” The Associated Press and Daily Mail reported that Zuck added, “No matter where they were born, (these students) are going to be tomorrow’s entrepreneurs and people creating jobs in this country.” He was speaking at a viewing of a documentary film created by journalist Jose Antonio Vargas, who made headlines a couple years ago by revealing that he was an “undocumented immigrant.”
Is Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) Taking the GOP’s Side on This Issue?
There is little doubt that Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB), Mark Zuckerberg and other tech companies and CEOs seem to have a Democrat or progressive bent to their altruistic work, but could it be that immigration reform might not be a truly Democrat issue?
Rosario Marin, former Treasurer of the United States under President George W. Bush (not to be confused with Treasury Secretary) wrote a piece recently on Fox News Latino that puts forth the notion that perhaps Zuck may be advocating for something that the Republicans need but is questionable whether the Democrats actually want. She poses this theory based on the idea that the GOP has an opportunity to talk with minority groups about values and policy and can use this debate to forward a broader discussion about how GOP values align more readily with Hispanics in general.
Democrats, on the other hand, have had plenty of opportunities in the past to pass the legislation, but the party talked the talk but dragged its feet instead of walking the walk. She pointed to the fact that Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) led their respective majorities in the Senate and House during Obama’s first two years, yet immigration reform was not done – ObamaCare was, instead.
Is This Proof of Marin’s Claim?
Maybe Ms. Marin is on to something, when a couple of prominent Republican House members, Eric Cantor of Virginia and Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, gave some signals that the GOP-led House would consider a series of immigration reform bills that would address some aspects of the immigration system, according to a report by Adriana Maestas of Politic365.
She said that comments that both men made recently seem to suggest that rather than pass the 800-page “Gang of 8” Senate bill about comprehensive reform, the more conservative House chamber will consider separate bills of its own in order to address he complex issue that has been a hot button since the McCain-Kennedy reform bill failed in 2007 due to intense public criticism.
How does all this still fit into what Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) and Mark Zuckerberg want to do, and how might investors like fund manager D. E. Shaw see Facebook now that its CEO has spoken out? While you ponder that, check out this video that discusses the H-1B visa program, which Facebook, Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG), Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) and others use to find their skilled engineers from outside the U.S.