Immigration Reform 2013: Why Does Mark Zuckerberg Care?
Mark Zuckerberg is making headlines, but this time in a brand new arena. The millenial billionaire is officially entering the world of politics and he's got one thing in mind: his pocketbook.
Zuckerberg is creating a PAC aimed at comprehensive immigration reform. At this point, it's widely considered pretty much a no-brainer that action must be taken. Leaders from both sides of the aisle have hammered this point in recent months, largely to glean a demographic edge in the next election cycle. The plain and simple fact, however, is that Zuckerberg's in it for the moo-la.
Here's whats going on: Mark Zuckerberg's business lies in the heart of Silicon Valley in California. Of the estimated 12 million illegal immigrants (or "undocumented workers" if we're adopting the latest rhetoric), roughly 2.5 million live in California. These workers account for almost 10% of California's workforce. 10% may not seem like much, but seen through a business lens this translates into a massive opportunity to capitalize.
In other words, Zuckerberg's sympathetic egalitarian appeal is nothing more than a chance to keep making bank.
Throughout his life, Zuckerberg has been as politically active as a piece of cheese. Well, not really. According to OpenSecrets, Zuckerberg donated roughly $10,000 in the 2012 election to the Facebook PAC. More recently, Zuckerberg and his wife entertained Chris Christie at their home for a fundraiser dinner. It is unknown how much food the Zuckerbergs were compelled to provide for their guests.
Zuckerberg's new PAC is apparently focused on "long term economic issues." In reality that goal translates to Zuckerberg's desire for lower labor costs in the here and now. If you had billions to throw around while managing one of the world's most popular companies, how much effort do you think you'd spend advocating for the long-term public interest? Well, maybe in a dream world.
Further, reports indicate Zuckerberg is bringing in a team of bipartisan consultants to assist in launching his effort. Please forgive me for a moment; let's assume the word bipartisan still has real meaning. While political tensions rage over issues such as the budget and marriage equality, it seems for once there is optimism that immigration reform will be passed before my gray hairs start coming in (I'm 20).
So tell me if this sounds ludicrous: is it possible that right when immigration reform is seen as an issue both parties want to claim victory over, one of America's most prominent up-and-comers wants in on the success?
To be clear, immigration reform is absolutely necessary. For any American who would deny the importance of allowing immigrants into this boiling pot of ours, I plainly would like to shake your hand. Please, anyone; if you aren't related to any immigrants come find me!
Allowing foreigners to enter the U.S. legally (and easily) should not only be politically wise, but rather a basic human compassion to allow others to build a better life for themselves. We shouldn't just let foreigners in, we should embrace them. It can only add to America's ever-changing cultural identity; an attribute this nation has historically worn with pride.
Zuckerberg is adopting the newest fashion of "speech;" he's throwing money at a good cause. But let us not be fooled into thinking he is a standard-bearer of altruism. Zuckerberg is engulfed in his own interests, his money. His latest PAC is nothing more than a wise investment.