Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is criticizing Donald Trump’s plans to build a border wall with Mexico and to limit migrants entering the United States from several Muslim countries.
The criticism indicates Zuckerberg’s growing interest in national politics outside his company’s business concerns.
This week, Trump signed several executive orders, including one to start the process of building a wall across the southern border with Mexico, and one to establish a temporary ban on some refugees entering the United States until proper vetting processes are put in place.
In a Facebook post, Zuckerberg said that he is “concerned about the impact of the recent executive orders signed by President Trump,” adding that “we should also keep our doors open to refugees and those who need help.”
“We need to keep this country safe, but we should do that by focusing on people who actually pose a threat,” Zuckerberg said.
“Expanding the focus of law enforcement beyond people who are real threats would make all Americans less safe by diverting resources, while millions of undocumented folks who don’t pose a threat will live in fear of deportation,” he continued.
Since at least 2013, Zuckerberg has funded an unsuccessful lobbying group, FWD.US, which has allied with other business groups to push for rules allowing U.S. companies to hire more cheap foreign white-collar professionals — such as H-1B contract workers — instead of American graduates. The business groups also pushed for higher immigration rates, which increase the total number of consumers in the U.S. economy. This broad push for “Comprehensive Immigration Reform” failed in 2014 amid public opposition, but business groups are expected to try again in 2017 and 2018.
Trump says his number one priority will be the deportation of migrants who have criminal records or who pose a threat to national security, although he originally promised to deport all illegal immigrants from the United States.
Zuckerberg’s comments are perhaps the first time he has openly criticized government policy. His relationship with Barack Obama appeared to be friendly. He has never formally endorsed any political candidate, despite Facebook having been found to have suppressed coverage conservative outlets and amplified left-wing movements across the site.
Last year, Zuckerberg agreed to demands from German Chancellor Angela Merkel for greater censorship on the network, and promised to crack down on users criticizing her open-door migrant policy.
Facebook’s COO Sheryl Sandberg also took to Facebook to criticize Trump’s executive order on reintroducing the Mexico City policy, which bans federal funding being used to pay for abortions, saying that the “ban is harsher and broader than past orders by past presidents, [meaning] it will hurt more people.”
“Women’s rights are human rights – and there is no more basic right than health care. Women around the world deserve our support,” she wrote.