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Zuckerberg treads carefully with a defense of immigration

We are in the middle of a national debate on immigration centered around the question of whether refugees will be allowed into the country. Today, President Trump signaled that persecuted Christians would get priority in refugee considerations, even as he signed an executive order instituting a system of “extreme vetting” of refugees from a number of Muslim nations. 

This afternoon, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg weighed in with a post that, at first glimpse, comes across as a passionate defense of immigrants. On closer reading, though, it’s easy to come away with the notion that the post isn’t entirely altruistic. “I’m also glad the President believes our country should continue to benefit from people of great talent coming into the country,” Zuckerberg wrote, a clear reference to those here in the United States on H-1B visas. Facebook, like all big tech companies, benefits from being able to hire such workers, and Zuckerberg is a cofounder of FWD.us, a nonprofit advocating for, among other things, reform that enables more immigrants to work in the American knowledge economy.

Zuckerberg wrote that he’s “concerned about the impact of the recent executive orders signed by President Trump” and that “expanding the focus of law enforcement beyond people who are real threats would make all Americans less safe by diverting resources, while millions of undocumented folks who don’t pose a threat will live in fear of deportation.” At the same time, in addition to praising Trump for his stance on H-1B visas, Zuckerberg also lauded the president for saying “he’s going to “work something out” for Dreamers—immigrants who were brought to this country at a young age by their parents.”

[Photo: Flickr user Charlie Kaijo]DT