Facebook's Zuckerberg launches immigration reform lobby group

A new lobby organization co-founded by Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and other tech executives launched on Thursday, focusing its efforts on rallying support for immigration reform.

The new group, named FWD.us, boasts an all-star roster of Silicon Valley tech executives and venture capitalists and has drawn attention because it marks one of Zuckerberg's first steps into the Washington political realm.

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Joe Green, Zuckerberg's college roommate at Harvard and founder of Causes.com, is the founder and president of the organization, which also counts LinkedIn CEO Reid Hoffman and investors John Doerr and Ron Conway. Major donors to FWD.us include Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer, Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt and Netflix CEO Reed Hastings.

The new group, which is set up as 501(c)(4) organization, says its aim is to "promote policies to keep the United States and its citizens competitive in a global economy — including comprehensive immigration reform and education reform," according to its website.

The push for immigration reform comes as both chambers are working on legislation to overhaul the nation's immigration laws. The Senate's bipartisan Gang of Eight is expected to unveil their comprehensive proposal on Thursday.

In addition to immigration reform, FWD.us will also press for additional support for scientific research and improvements to U.S. education programs in science, math and technology.

In a Washington Post editorial published Thursday, Zuckerberg said the group's policy aim is to "build the knowledge economy" to spur job creation, innovation and investment in the U.S. The Facebook CEO said the group will work with lawmakers at the state and federal level and make use of online advocacy tools to build support for its policy objectives.

"As leaders of an industry that has benefited from this economic shift, we believe that we have a responsibility to work together to ensure that all members of our society gain from the rewards of the modern knowledge economy," Zuckerberg writes.

"Let’s embrace our future as a knowledge economy and help them — and all of us — reach our full potential," he adds.

A group of Washington political consultants have also signed on to support the nonprofit, including Joe Lockhart, senior adviser and co-founder of the Glover Park Group; Republican consultant Jon Lerner; and Rob Jesmer, a partner at public affairs firm FP1 Strategies and former executive director of the National Republican Senatorial Committee.

Adding to its political firepower, the group has enlisted outside lobbying help from Peck Madigan Jones and Fierce, Isakowitz & Blalock.