While other tech leaders glad-hand with The Donald, Mark Zuckerberg is facing him head on. Today the Facebook CEO called out the president for his unAmerican views that demonize immigrants, while also tactfully encouraging the few positive policies and comments Trump has offered on the subject.
You should read Zuckerberg’s full Facebook post on the topic embedded at the bottom of this story, but the highlights include:
“Like many of you, I’m concerned about the impact of the recent executive orders signed by President Trump.
We need to keep this country safe, but we should do that by focusing on people who actually pose a threat.
We should also keep our doors open to refugees and those who need help.
That said, I was glad to hear President Trump say he’s going to ‘work something out’ for Dreamers — immigrants who were brought to this country at a young age by their parents…over the next few weeks I’ll be working with our team at FWD.us to find ways we can help.
I’m also glad the President believes our country should continue to benefit from ‘people of great talent coming into the country.’
We are a nation of immigrants, and we all benefit when the best and brightest from around the world can live, work and contribute here.”
Many business moguls see cooperating with Trump as crucial to protecting their businesses, but in this case, Zuckerberg’s oppositional perspective is also vital to Facebook’s success. The company employs a large number of immigrants in the U.S. via the high-skilled H-1B visa. Additional restrictions on the already overloaded H-1B visa program could prevent Facebook from hiring the talent it needs to keep building the world’s most popular social networking products.
Trump has railed against globalization’s inevitable effect of manufacturing and other jobs moving to countries with looser worker protection and minimum wage laws. Trump’s election happened in part because he harnessed the fear of less-educated American whites looking for an easy answer or scapegoat for their financial troubles.
While the country will have to come to grips with how to deal with the coming unemployment crisis fueled by globalization and automation, and Zuckerberg doesn’t claim to have an answer here, he’s brave to stick up for inclusive values that underpin the modern American spirit. Even if that means sparring with the other most powerful man in the world.
Meanwhile, Zuckerberg today announced he’s dropping his Hawaiian land lawsuits that were part of him securing land on the island to build a home, calling the suits “a mistake” and planning a different route forward. The CEO has learned a lot about listening to the public since the early days of Facebook’s privacy missteps.
In other Facebook-Trump news, COO Sheryl Sandberg yesterday posted her stern disagreement with Trump signing an executive order that will pull funding from foreign aid organizations that provide counseling about family planning options including abortion. She wrote, “Women’s rights are human rights — and there is no more basic right than health care. Women around the world deserve our support.”
Zuckerberg has said he’s not currently planning to run for president. But it’s clear he still plans to use his immense audience, power and fortune to push for progressive policies that don’t rely on turning Americans and the nations of the world against each other.