When Mark Zuckerberg, billionaire CEO of Facebook announces that immigration reform is the issue of our time, politicians take note.
Head of the most significant social network on the planet, the 29-year-old made his argument in favor of reform during an interview on Sunday with ABC News' "This Week."
'The future of our economy is a knowledge economy,' Zuckerberg said. 'That means getting the most talented people into this country is the most important thing that we can do to make sure the companies of tomorrow are founded here.'
Zuckerberg isn't just paying lip service. To push in favor of reform, he and other tech industry giants have launched FWD.us, a new special interest group to advance immigration issues. Zuckerberg announced the formation of the group in a Washington Post op-ed in April.
In addition to lobbying politicians, FWD.us will call attention to the need for reform by hosting events. Last week FWD.us held a 24-hour 'hackathon' centered around immigration reform at LinkedIn's headquarters in California.
'It seems like one of the biggest civil rights issues of our time,' Zuckerberg said in the ABC interview.
FWD.us's signature initiatives include securing borders, providing a path to citizenship and support for issuing more H-1B visas in an effort attract the world’s best and the brightest tech workers.
Zuckerberg also reportedly spoke of the growing number of children brought to the U.S. illegally by their parents, often called 'Dreamers.'
'One of the things that the 'dreamers' here today show is that even if, you know, you’re a child of someone who came here who wouldn't be considered one of the higher-skilled workers – you can be one of the entrepreneurs of tomorrow. That’s the American Dream,' he said.
According to Mashable, Zuckerberg also discussed government surveillance as an important issue of our time. The Facebook founder said he believes a balance between security and privacy is necessary.
'I think the government really blew it on this one,' he said. 'I honestly think that they're continuing to blow it in some ways, and I hope the government becomes more transparent in that part of it.'
Facebook has been at the forefront of internet privacy issues since former intelligence contractor Edward Snowden made international headlines by leaking a series of classified documents to a group of journalists. The Snowden documents, which began to hit the headlines in June, showed that the National Security Agency (NSA) has full access to Facebook's user data as well as that of other popular tech companies.
The main social network companies have since pressed for transparency from the government over requests for user data.
Currently, companies like Facebook are not allowed to release even aggregate statistics on government requests made under national security laws such as the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA).
Watch the Zuckerberg interview, below: