Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg waded into another political debate Friday, this time to defend the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.
Zuckerberg posted three paragraphs on Facebook explaining why he continues to "stand with the Dreamers," and also wrote replies to various comments on the post. He wrote that he has mentored DACA recipients and has faith in them, and he called on President Donald Trump to keep the program in place.
"I stand with the Dreamers — the young people brought to our country by their parents," Zuckerberg wrote. "Many have lived here as long as they can remember. Dreamers have a special love for this country because they can't take living here for granted."
"We need a government that protects Dreamers," he added. He also provided a link to a statement he had signed onto with other business leaders calling on Congress to pass the Dream Act to provide legislative amnesty to Dreamers.
"They understand all the opportunities they have and want nothing more than the chance to serve their country and their community," he wrote. "And Dreamers deserve that chance."
This emotional plea on a politically contentious issue fueled further speculation that Zuckerberg is considering launching a political career. In August, he hired a pollster who worked as the chief strategist for Hillary Clinton's 2016 campaign, and he has also announced his intention to travel to all 50 states to get a "broader perspective" about the country — and he denied it has anything to do with running for office.
Some political commentators, however, do not believe that the entrepreneur's intentions are apolitical.
"He has all of the mechanics needed for a massive, well-staged media operation," Media Matters for America president Angelo Carusone said about Zuckerberg's public travels. "Photographers, handlers, its size, scope and scale — all the ingredients are there. And he’s appearing in an environment where there’s no sole Democratic leader or counterbalance to Trump, who's consuming all the oxygen in media."
Zuckerberg has not announced a presidential run to challenge incumbent Donald Trump, but he has years to make up his mind. In his post about DACA, he used a conciliatory tone to address a range of commenters' questions and concerns.
"The Dreamers who are here on DACA are the hardworking immigrants you believe this country needs," Zuckerberg replied to someone who called into question the value of taking in immigrants who did not work hard.
One woman said illegal immigrants who "jump over fences" should not receive amnesty, and Zuckerberg replied by defending Dreamers from the charge of being lawbreakers.
"It's tough to jump over a fence when you're 1 or 2 years old," Zuckerberg wrote. "Many of these young folks didn't even make the decision to come here themselves. They were brought by their parents, they've grown up here, and this is the only country they've ever known."
Many commenters agreed with his position, and he encouraged them when they expressed dissatisfaction with the status quo in the U.S.
"Stay optimistic and keep your faith," Zuckerberg replied to one woman who felt things in America were getting worse. "It may take longer than we'd like, but we will fix this."
Zuckerberg's post finished with a call for readers to join him and other business leaders in supporting DACA.
"These young people represent the future of our country and our economy," he wrote. "They are our friends and family, students and young leaders in our communities. I hope you will join us in speaking out."