Mark Zuckerberg reminds America: 'We are a nation of immigrants'

Facebook's CEO is supporting President Obama's efforts to ensure undocumented immigrant children are not deported.

Katie Collins
Katie Collins Senior European Correspondent
Katie a UK-based news reporter and features writer. Officially, she is CNET's European correspondent, covering tech policy and Big Tech in the EU and UK. Unofficially, she serves as CNET's Taylor Swift correspondent. You can also find her writing about tech for good, ethics and human rights, the climate crisis, robots, travel and digital culture. She was once described a "living synth" by London's Evening Standard for having a microchip injected into her hand.
2 min read

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg meets with Syrian refugees in Germany earlier this month.


Nowadays, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg juggles duo roles as head honcho of the world's biggest social network and activist-philanthropist focused on health and education.

Zuckerberg used his Facebook page on Wednesday to lend his support to President Barack Obama's campaign to prevent undocumented immigrant children from being deported. "We are a nation of immigrants," he wrote in a post encouraging Facebook users to welcome undocumented immigrants and treat them with humanity.

Zuckerberg is one of 60 tech leaders who have signed Obama's Supreme Court brief, which argues that immigrant children should remain in the US without fear of deportation. The executive's support comes at a time when immigration is a hot-button issue in the US, with Republican president front-runner Donald Trump vowing to build a wall to keep Mexicans out and deport undocumented immigrants.

It might not seem the most obvious policy for the tech community to stand behind. But the thinking is that the industry will benefit from the innovation and entrepreneurship that could come from the 11 million individuals the law would affect. Of the successful tech companies to be born in the US over the last decade, 25 percent were founded by immigrants, the industry argues.

Zuckerberg adds a personal touch to the argument, saying that a few years ago he taught a middle school class on entrepreneurship and that some of his best students were undocumented. He sympathized with their fears that they would not be able to go to college, despite having lived in the US for as long as they could remember.

"These are smart and hardworking kids who could grow up to be leaders in their communities and in the world," he wrote.

Zuckerberg also mulled over similar situations he has observed with refugees and underrepresented minorities on his travels around the world. "I hear growing voices for building walls and distancing people labeled as 'other,'" he said. "I hope we have the wisdom to understand that the best path forward is always to bring people together, not divide them."

Earlier this month, Zuckerberg was in Germany, a country that has taken in many refugees from war-torn Syria. In an earlier Facebook post, he praised Germany's leadership and compassion, after meeting with refugees who were learning to code in Berlin. "Dealing with the refugee crisis is a huge challenge, and it is inspiring to see people creating opportunities through technology," he said.