By attempting to frame the debate over immigration reform as an issue of civil rights, advocates have been able to alter the context of the debate over legislation to attempt to fix the United States’ broken immigration system, and that baton was taken up by Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg during an interview with the ABC Sunday morning news show This Week on November 24th.
The 29-year-old billionaire recently founded FWD.us, a group that is intent on reforming the United States’ immigration system, and Zuckerberg has been particularly interested in the prospect of offering a pathway to US citizenship to the estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants already in the country. Zuckerberg hopes that by framing immigration reform in the guise of a civil rights issue, he will be able to persuade people who might otherwise be undecided about immigration reform to get off the fence.
“There are a lot of misconceptions about that,” Zuckerberg told the interviewer after being challenged on his assertion that immigration reform is about civil rights. “A lot of them (immigrants) came here because they just want to work. They want to help out their families and they want to contribute.”
Taking the humanitarian approach is the sort of action that helped to give equal rights to other formerly marginalized sections of society such as the LGBT community and African-Americans, who now have more legal protections. Zuckerberg also argued that immigration reform could help reduce the country’s shortage of qualified math and science professionals.