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Zuckerberg forms Silicon Valley super PAC to take on immigration

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Samuel Evans, a history professor at the University of California, Berkeley, says the super PAC seems like an extension of a corporate, social-responsibility mandate. While it is too early to tell the direction the super PAC will take in its advocacy, he says, the organization seems committed to helping highly skilled workers that would benefit Silicon Valley, as well as others within the immigrant population.

“From an optimistic point of view, these people are trying to affect real social change,” he says. “…the whole point is it would be a larger reform for all of society [that says] ‘we don’t want to just be serving the interests of the company.’ ”

Although Zuckerberg touches upon the challenges facing both individual workers and families, he focuses on bringing more high-skilled workers into the United States. He notes than 40 percent of math and science graduate students who are educated in the US are not American citizens and that few H-1B visas are available for those interested (the supply runs out just a few days after the visa lottery opens).

There are 85,000 H-1B visas available each year, and up to 124,000 petitions have been filed for them, immigration advocates say. However, these types of visas are only available for highly skilled workers and do not affect the millions of undocumented low-skilled workers or families.

Immigration rights advocates are skeptical of the super PAC’s intentions behind reform policies. Gabriel Camacho, immigration programs director for the American Friends Service Committee, says Zuckerberg’s super PAC may just be looking to eliminate caps on visas for highly skilled workers.

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