With the movement on immigration reform at a standstill in Congress, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and other top Silicon Valley executives joined together on Wednesday to urge lawmakers to press ahead with their work on fixing the country’s immigration system.
Zuckerberg, LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman and Dropbox CEO Andrew Houston were on hand to help kick off a “hackathon” event at LinkedIn’s headquarters, where a group of 20 young immigrants who came to the country illegally as children, often called “Dreamers,” will spend the next 25 hours coding Web tools aimed at advocating for immigration reform.
“I think this is one of the biggest civil rights issues of our time,” Zuckerberg told reporters and the room of young coders from across the U.S. “We’re at a pretty critical moment in the movement right now where it’s really important to keep pushing ahead.”
The three tech executives, along with Groupon co-founder Andrew Mason and immigration rights advocate Jose Antonio Vargas, will judge the young immigrants’ final work on Thursday afternoon and determine which project wins for “best design,” “best advocacy app” and “best storytelling app.”
FWD.us, the political advocacy group co-founded by Zuckerberg that’s funded by many of the tech industry’s most powerful executives, is hosting the event to show Congress that it’s not backing down from its push for passing immigration legislation that includes a path to citizenship for the more than 11 million immigrants living illegally in the United States.
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