Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg generated international attention last week for his entry into Washington politics. In launching a new political group, he positioned himself as a leading advocate to help aspiring entrepreneurs and other ambitious immigrants achieve the American dream.
Yet behind the scenes on Capitol Hill, Facebook lobbyists were engaged in another form of politics: pressing to insert a few new words helpful to Facebook’s business interests into a sprawling legislative proposal.
The deft maneuvering came during the drafting of the new bipartisan Senate immigration proposal being released this week. It underscores the rising clout of a young company that is following the road paved by such technology forebears as Microsoft and Google, moving from indifference toward Washington to persistent, sophisticated engagement.
The payoff on the immigration provision could be substantial, allowing Facebook and other technology companies to avoid a requirement that they make a “good-faith” effort to recruit Americans for jobs before hiring from overseas. Facebook could also sidestep proposed rules that would force it to pay much higher wages to many foreign workers.