News Column

Tech Head Honchos' Motives on Immigration Reform Questioned

May 9, 2013

Staff Reports -- HispanicBusiness

Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg, a nonprofit organization backed by key leaders in the tech community, including Microsoft, Yahoo and Facebook, has caused liberal groups to pull their ads on Facebook.

The group has begun to run ads starring conservatives talking about the Keystone XL pipeline and opposing Obamacare, which prompted liberal groups to pull ads on the social media giant's site, or hold off on buying ads for at least two weeks.

The League of Conservation Voters, MoveOn.Org, the Sierra Club, Democracy for America, CREDO, Daily Kos,, Presente and Progressives United all have agreed to withhold ad dollars, according to the Washington Post.

Jeff Gohringer, spokesman for the League of Conservation Voters, said it isn't about the money, it's about sending Zuckerberg a message.

According to its website, seeks to promote policies to keep the U.S. and its citizens "competitive in a global economy -- including comprehensive immigration reform and education reform."

Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg is listed as a founder of, and its supporters include Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates and LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman. Listed as major contributors are Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, SpaceX CEO Elon Musk and Netflix founder Reed Hastings.

According to a Washington Post op-ed piece by Zuckerberg that ran in April, when launched, his mission is to update immigration policies to reflect today's times.

"We have a strange immigration policy for a nation of immigrants. And it's a policy unfit for today's world," Zuckerberg wrote. "We need a new approach, including comprehensive immigration reform that begins with effective border security, allows a path to citizenship and lets us attract the most talented and hardest-working people, no matter where they were born."

Cathy Duvall, director of strategic partnerships at the Sierra Club, called the technology leader's strategy "old-fashioned, brass-knuckled Washington lobbying," according to the NY Times.

On Tuesday, the Sierra Club used its Facebook page to confront Zuckerberg. The environmental group prompted its followers to share a link to a HuffingtonPost article announcing the club's move to pull ads on the social media site.

"Leaders in the technology community have every right to talk about how immigration reform will benefit their businesses," former Sen. Russ Feingold said in a statement. "But instead, has chosen a strategy that's condescending to voters and counterproductive to the cause of reform."


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