mark zuckerberg
Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg has supported immigration reform that would benefit immigrants in the country illegally. He signed a “friend of the court” brief along with dozens of tech business leaders urging the Supreme Court to allow DAPA and DACA to go forward. REUTERS/Albert Gea

Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg signed an amicus brief delivered to the Supreme Court Tuesday that urges the 8 justices to reject a lower court ruling that prevents Obama from executing a prosecutorial discretion program that would affect 5 million immigrants in the country illegally. Zuckerberg’s support represents a major victory for immigration advocates, who fear years ago that technology leaders would shy away from comprehensive immigration reform to focus only on expanding tech worker visas. However, Zuckerberg’s signature is one of just 60 tech leaders that back the Obama administration’s pro-immigrant policies.

The Zuckerberg and FWD.US argument is simple. Current immigration law hurts business, they argue, and Obama’s DAPA and expanded DACA programs increase the labor supply by granting work permission to millions of immigrants. The brief rejects the argument made by Texas and a coalition of 23 states that Obama’s executive orders on immigration will hurt them.

“By providing work authorization to certain undocumented immigrants who are low-priority for deportation, the 2014 Guidance will help avoid labor shortages and spur U.S. productivity and competitiveness,” the group says in its statement to the court. “The agriculture, dairy, and food service industries also suffer from an acute shortage of workers, which is only exacerbated by declining immigration.”

Zuckerberg has supported FWD.US since its founding in 2013 during the legislative fight over comprehensive immigration reform. Elements of that battle -- over what to do with the estimated 11 million immigrants in the country illegally with deep ties in American communities -- are being waged anew during the 2016 presidential race. The group has been highly critical of leading GOP candidates Donald Trump and Ted Cruz.

Zuckerberg has also donated $5 million dollars to a scholarship fund for Dreamers, immigrants in the U.S. without legal permission who were brought by their parents and grew up here. FWD.US has highlighted the stories of dreamers, as in this video, below.

"Itzel's Story" from FWDus on Vimeo.

Immigration restrictions like columnist Ann Coulter have attacked Zuckerberg for his support of FWD.US. However, the Facebook founder has largely stayed out of the limelight this year, avoiding talk shows and direct support for pro-immigrant politicians.

Now that Zuckerberg is throwing his signature into the largest immigration battle of 2016, that could change. Will Trump, for example, go after him for a one-on-one social media beef? Donald Trump has 6 million more followers on Twitter but -- you guessed it -- Zuckerberg has about 50 million more followers on Facebook.

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