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Billionaire Zuckerberg Declares Amnesty for Foreign Lawbreakers a Civil Rights Issue
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November 25, 2013, 12:46 PM
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On Sunday the Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg appeared on ABC News This Week in a content-lite interview more suitable for a celebrity than the creator of a company worth tens of billions of dollars.

The interviewer, ABC’s David Wright (@WrightUps), didn’t ask a single question about how a more permissive immigration system with amnesty and increased legal immigration might benefit Zuckerberg in a personal financial way. The DailyCaller noted that the Senate bill would “double the resident pool of low-wage, university trained guest-workers to roughly 2 million” which would surely be a profit increaser for Silicon Valley tycoons.

But instead of probing questions on that account, Zuckerberg was allowed to pontificate with a silly statement about illegal alien kids not getting sufficient American goodies:

ZUCKERBERG: When you meet these children who are you know, really talented, and they’ve grown up in America and they really don’t know any other country besides that, but they don’t have the opportunities that we all enjoy, it’s really heartbreaking right? And it seems like it’s one of the biggest civil rights issues of our time.

Funny how the serious lack of jobs for older IT workers doesn’t strike Zuckerberg as being heart-breaking. In fact he remarked in 2007, “I want to stress the importance of being young and technical,” so he appears to have a fondness for vapid youth of any nationality.

Here’s the ABC transcript for November 24, 2013:

DAVID WRIGHT, ABC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: In a room full of hackers, the guy in the hoodie stands out. In fact Mark Zuckerberg counts as an elder statesman. The 29-year-old founder of Facebook is exactly the sort of success story these other bright, young faces hope to be. If the United States government allows them to stay in this country.

What is your status?

DIANA TORRES, HACKATHON PARTICIPANT: I was undocumented (inaudible) action.

WRIGHT: These young people are all undocumented immigrants taking part in a two-day hackathon organized by Forward.us, a Silicon Valley lobbying group pushing for immigration reform. Zuckerberg is one of the group’s founders.

MARK ZUCKERBERG, FOUNDER, FACEBOOK: I was teaching an afterschool program and one of my top students put his hand up, and he said, I don’t think I’m going to be able to go to college because I’m undocumented.

WRIGHT: For Zuckerberg, it was a eureka moment.

ZUCKERBERG: When you meet these children who are you know, really talented, and they’ve grown up in America and they really don’t know any other country besides that, but they don’t have the opportunities that we all enjoy, it’s really heartbreaking right? And it seems like it’s one of the biggest civil rights issues of our time.

WRIGHT: A civil rights issue? How do you mean?

ZUCKERBERG: There are 11 million undocumented people living in this country.

WRIGHT: Some would argue that all 11 million are breaking the law and have no fundamental right to American citizenship. What would you say to them?

ZUCKERBERG: There are a lot of misconceptions about that. And a lot of them came here because they just want to work. They want to help out their families and they want to contribute. We definitely should make it so that they can, so that there’s a path for them to come into the country legally as well.

WRIGHT: That’s the message of new ads Zuckerberg’s group rolled out this week to put new pressure on Washington.

NARRATOR: Tell Congress the time is now. Fix America’s broken immigration system.

ZUCKERBERG: The future of our economy is a knowledge economy. And that means that getting the most talented people into this country is the most important thing that we can do to make sure that the companies of tomorrow are founded here.

WRIGHT: It seems obvious that Silicon Valley has an interest in stopping the brain drain. The harder case is for the non-skilled labor.

ZUCKERBERG: You know and one of the things that the dreamers here today show is that even if you, you know, you’re a child of someone who came here who wouldn’t be considered one of the higher skilled workers, you still are probably one of the, you can be one of the entrepreneurs of tomorrow. And you know that’s the American dream.

WRIGHT: In practical terms forward.us is pushing for three things, more visas, especially for highly skilled workers, a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants who are here, and securing the borders so that in the future, the only people here are here aboveboard.

Earlier this fall Zuckerberg set aside his signature hoodie and put on a suit and tie for a round of lobbying on Capitol Hill. Are you more or less optimistic after your recent trip to Washington?

ZUCKERBERG: I’m fundamentally an optimistic person, as an entrepreneur. The vast majority of Americans want this to happen. We have to push forward, it needs to happen.

WRIGHT: We also asked Zuckerberg his thoughts on two other digital issues, NSA surveillance for one, Facebook has faced its own questions over user privacy but has pushed back hard against the government’s wholesale collection of data.

ZUCKERBERG: You know, I certainly think that we all want national security. We want to live in a safe country and we want to be protected from risks.

WRIGHT: But is the route to safety through the mass collection of data?

ZUCKERBERG: I think that these things are always a balance. In terms of doing the right things and also being clear and telling people about what you’re doing. I think the government really blew it on this one. And I honestly think that they’re continuing to blow it in some ways and I hope that they become more transparent in that part of it.

WRIGHT: And there’s the program where the president himself admits the government blew it, big time. The troubled website, health care.gov. What advice would you have for the president on his poor website?

ZUCKERBERG: You know, sometimes stuff doesn’t work when you want it to. We’ve certainly had plenty of mistakes and things that haven’t worked the way that we want to. The right thing here is just to keep on focusing on building the service that you think is right in the long-term.

WRIGHT: This is one area Zuckerberg has more expertise than the folks in Washington. But for now he’s keeping his eye focused on immigration reform. A political coming of age for the Facebook founder and quite possibly, Silicon Valley.

For “This Week” David Wright, ABC News, Mountain View, California.

(END VIDEO CLIP)