Silicon Valley has an enormous interest in ensuring that immigration reform is passed. To that end, a number of tech companies have been working tirelessly as lobbyists and activists.
Technology professionals have unparalleled access to a tech-reliant American audience. Still seeing enormous growth, tech companies have the money to make things happen — spending millions on ads, lobbying conservatives, mounting hackathons and more. Unfortunately, they have still run into the same roadblocks that have stalled immigration reform for decades.
To date, there have been no results. Even Mark Zuckerberg and his colleagues have been unable to spark real action in Congress.
Joe Green, Zuckerberg’s former Harvard roommate and the president of FWD.us, postulated the goal of ensuring the success of America by passing immigration reform. Green believes that lobby groups need to work through politics to succeed.
The group raised an enormous amount of capital (more than $50 million) and attracted well-known names to publicly back immigration reform. A large part of the funds raised went to media buys and other targeted campaigns involving TV and radio. FWD.us dropped more than $5 million during the lead-up to last year’s Senate vote, which did end with the passage of an immigration bill.
FWD.us launched well, but it garnered negative media attention with an ad campaign that eventually alienated a good part of the tech community. Since the bill passage last year, everything has stalled — both Green’s efforts and immigration reform itself.
As the Congressional election approaches, legislation has put on hold and immigration reform set to the side. No amount of money raised by outsiders wanting change can cure indifference fueled by political divisiveness. Polarization is a dangerous and detrimental thing. So far, even the strongest of U.S. industries have been unable to overcome it.