Tech leaders push for US immigration and education reform

Tech leaders push for US immigration and education reform
Aaron Lee

By Aaron Lee

April 11th 2013 at 1:08PM

Facebook, Google, Zynga, LinkedIn and others form political advocacy group

Executives from Facebook, Google, Zynga and many others have started a political advocacy group intended to help grow the talent pool in the US.

Rumours of the group’s existence began to surface in March, and now Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg has officially unveiled FWD.us in an op-ed piece for the Washington Post.

“Today's economy... is based primarily on knowledge and ideas - resources that are renewable and available to everyone,” Zuckerberg wrote.

“To lead the world in this new economy, we need the most talented and hardest-working people. We need to train and attract the best.

“Given all this, why do we kick out the more than 40 per cent of math and science graduate students who are not US citizens after educating them? Why do we offer so few H-1B visas for talented specialists that the supply runs out within days of becoming available each year, even though we know each of these jobs will create two or three more American jobs in return? Why don't we let entrepreneurs move here when they have what it takes to start companies that will create even more jobs?”

Zuckerberg recounted the story of his own immigrant great-grandparents, haling the success they eventually found as “the American story”.

“We have a strange immigration policy for a nation of immigrants,” he said. “And it's a policy unfit for today's world.”

He went on to outline three new approaches for reform of the US system, including comprehensive immigration reform beginning with effective border security, higher standards and accountability in schools and investment in breakthrough discoveries in scientific research and assurance that impact the public and not the few.

The group’s policy agenda includes broad immigration reform, education reform in science, technology and maths, and greater investment in scientific research.
As well as Zuckerberg, Google’s Eric Schmidt, Zynga's Mark Pincus and LinkedIn’s Reid Hoffman the executives listed as supporters and major contributors of FWD.us represent almost every major company in the American technology sector: Dropbox, Airbnb, Netflix, Yahoo!, Instagram, Path and more.