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Mark Zuckerberg's views on immigration are no secret: He's backed legislation that would bring more immigrants with technical degrees to the United States and campaigned to raise the cap on visas for highly skilled workers—a proposal that most tech companies support. In 2013, he co-founded a lobbying group called FWD, which has pooled millions of Silicon Valley dollars into immigration reform. Now that group has filed a court brief to persuade the Supreme Court to uphold policies that let undocumented immigrants stay in the United States.
"Instead of inviting the economic contributions of immigrants, our immigration enforcement policies have often inhibited the productivity of US companies and made it harder for them to compete in the global marketplace," reads the court brief, published yesterday. Along with Zuckerberg, the brief is signed by LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman, Dropbox VP of Engineering Aditya Agarwal, and others.
Tech leaders have long been cheerleaders of immigration reform, mostly because their industry would grind to a halt without immigrants: About a quarter of the technology and engineering companies founded in the US have been spearheaded by immigrants, and research shows immigrants are nearly twice as likely to start their own businesses. Of the founders of Fortune 500 companies, more than 40 percent had immigrant parents or were immigrants themselves.
The court brief points all of this out, adding that it's not just the tech industry. All kinds of businesses "would benefit from politics that afford undocumented individuals—approximately 11 million of whom live in the United States—lawful opportunities to contribute to the American economy."
The Supreme Court is currently deciding whether Obama's executive actions on immigration reform from 2014, which allowed some undocumented immigrants to remain in the United States, were an overstep of presidential power. The policies—in particular, the Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA) and the expanded Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)—were challenged in Texas last year, and the case has now ascended to the country's top court. Oral arguments are scheduled to begin in April.
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