Zuckerberg Goes ‘Forward’ With Launch of Advocacy Group

Silicon Valley lines up behind immigration reform

Facebook mogul Mark Zuckerberg formally launched his advocacy group today. Called FWD.us (think Forward U.S.), the group, as expected, is starting right out of the box with a push for immigration reform.

Along with Zuckerberg, FWD.us has 10 other founders, including Reid Hoffman, co-founder and executive chairman of LinkedIn, and Drew Houston, founder and CEO of Dropbox. Zuckerberg's Harvard buddy and roommate and NationBuilder co-founder Joe Green is the group's co-founder and president.

The tech community pretty much lined up right behind Zuckerberg, filling out an impressive list of "contributors" including Eric Schmidt, executive chairman of Google; Reed Hastings, the founder and CEO of Netflix; Max Levchin, co-founder of PayPal and chairman of Yelp; Kevin Systrom, CEO and co-founder of Instagram; and Marissa Mayer, the CEO, president and director of Yahoo.

The website urges visitors to sign up and register their support for immigration reform and, of course, share on Facebook or Twitter some nifty illustrated stats backing up the group's position on the importance of immigration reform to the economy.

"We have a strange immigration policy for a nation of immigrants," wrote Zuckerberg in an op-ed on the site, which was also published in the Washington Post. "And it's a policy unfit for today's world."

Not to mention a problem for the growing Silicon Valley economy that is still in search of top-notch talent. "Why do we kick out the more than 40 percent of math and science graduate students who are not U.S. citizens after paying to educate them?" Zuckerberg wrote.

FWD.us has two offices, one in Silicon Valley and the other in D.C. The team is a bipartisan mix: Rob Jesmer, a former executive director of the National Republican Senatorial Committee is campaign manager; Alida Garcia, the group's coalitions and policy director is the former National Latino Vote Deputy Director for Obama for America's reelection campaign; Kate Hansen, the communications director, most recently worked as the communications director for the Democratic Governors Association; and research director Scott Sloofman is the former deputy director of the Republican National Committee war room.