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Mark Zuckerberg's 'conservative' pitch for immigration reform
The Facebook founder's new nonprofit is releasing its first political advocacy ads
 
Mark Zuckerberg says an immigration overhaul would boost the tech sector.
Mark Zuckerberg says an immigration overhaul would boost the tech sector. ROBERT GALBRAITH/Reuters/Corbis

Mark Zuckerberg is trying to friend conservatives on immigration reform.

Weeks after the Facebook founder announced the formation of FWD.us, a nonprofit political advocacy group, the organization is going up with its first big ad buy in support of immigration reform, according to Politico's Alexander Burns. What's more, FWD.us is releasing the ads through a conservative subsidiary group created specifically to rally Republican support for a bipartisan immigration bill.

The FWD.us-affiliated Americans for a Conservative Direction will spend seven figures in seven states to push out two different ads. Both frame immigration reform as a conservative issue, with the narrator in one urging lawmakers to "stand with Marco Rubio to end de facto amnesty."

Many Republicans lawmakers and pundits have balked at immigration reform because of the dreaded A-word. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) has sought to allay those concerns, arguing that the country's current set-up effectively allows undocumented workers to go unpunished.

It's no surprise that the ad relies heavily on Rubio, who is the leading Republican voice in the immigration debate, and is now working furiously to build support within his party for a bipartisan bill that would plug the border and move millions of undocumented workers toward legal status. The ad will run in six states, all of which are home to Republican senators who could play a significant role in determining the bill's fate: Florida, Iowa, Kentucky, North Carolina, Texas, and Utah. 

The other ad focuses exclusively on Sen. Lindsey Graham's (R-S.C.) conservative bona fides, and will run only in South Carolina. It's intended to help Graham avoid any political fallout for supporting an immigration bill. Graham took some heat for backing immigration reform in 2007, and is seen as vulnerable to a threatened Republican primary challenge next year.

A separate, liberal subsidiary of FWD.us is reportedly on the way as well to pitch immigration reform to skeptical Democrats.

Zuckerberg has advocated an immigration overhaul as a way to boost the tech sector, saying the "most important resources are the talented people we educate and attract to our country." Specifically, he's pushed to expand a temporary visa program that would attract more skilled talent to tech companies like his own. 

Though Americans for Conservative Action will work underneath FWD.us, it will be run by a separate leadership team of notable Republicans, including former Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour and two former advisers to George W. Bush. But already, the group's board has drawn criticism from some on the right who say that its members are conservatives in name only. Red State's Erick Erickson, for one, called Americans for a Conservative direction "the latest GOP scam in Washington" for that very reason. 

Here's Erickson:

HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA.

breathe.

HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA.

No wait . . . hang on . . . HA HA HA HA HA HA HA. I'm sorry.

...

You know how conservative the direction is they want to go?

They're already bilking their donors for dollars to support . . .

wait for it . . . seriously . . . wait for it . . .

Lindsey Graham of South Carolina. Yes, 'Americans for a Conservative Direction' are using donor dollars to prop up sweet little Lindsey in South Carolina. And the ad is as poorly produced as a GOP consultant class scam can get. 'Our Back,' they call the ad cheerleading Lindsey. [Red State]

 
Jon Terbush is an associate editor at TheWeek.com covering politics, sports, and other things he finds interesting. He has previously written for Talking Points Memo, Raw Story, and Business Insider.

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