(SAN FRANCISCO) -- When Jose Antonio Vargas profiled Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg for the New Yorker in September 2010, not very many people knew the exclusive story was written by an undocumented immigrant. A year later, Vargas, a Pulitzer winning journalist, went on to make headlines himself when he wrote an op-ed in the New York Times Magazine disclosing his undocumented status.
Vargas and Zuckerberg met again in San Francisco on Monday night for a special screening of Documented, Vargas’ new documentary that looks at his experience becoming one of the most famous undocumented immigrants in the nation. The documentary includes footage of how current U.S. policies keep some families separated.
The screening, hosted by Zuckerberg’s political action committee FWD.us, brought together some of Silicon Valley’s most successful leaders to talk about immigration reform.
The 757-seat theater at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts was filled with tech workers and entrepreneurs who sat next to day laborers, DREAMers and a number of other individuals who identified as undocumented immigrants.
"This very room represents what immigration reform is,” Zuckerberg said before he introduced Vargas to the stage.
“People talk about high skill H1-B’s and the issues tech companies have and full comprehension immigration reform as if they’re two completely different separate issues,” Zuckerberg said, referring to the employer-sponsored work visas for immigrants with highly specialized skills.
“But anyone who knows a DREAMer knows that they’re not,” Zuckerberg went on to say.
“No matter where they were born, [these students] are going to be tomorrow’s entrepreneurs and people creating jobs in this country,” he told the audience. “These are issues that don’t just touch our part of the industry, but really touch a whole country.”
Zuckerberg cited a recent study that found that about half of the Fortune 500 companies in the U.S. were founded by immigrants or their children.
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