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How Mark Zuckerberg's FWD.us Group Will Fight Donald Trump's Mass Deportation Plan

"We want to make clear to people what the stakes are, and that we are strongly against the astronomical costs that come with mass deportation," said FWD.us Chief Executive Todd Schulte.

Asa Mathat

The tech-industry-backed advocacy group FWD.us plans to fight Donald Trump’s call for mass deportation of undocumented immigrants, which underpins the billionaire’s 2016 presidential election campaign.

The group, founded by Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and other tech leaders, is looking to mobilize the business and technology communities to speak out against the notion of deporting the 11 million undocumented immigrants living in the United States. (This comes just after Zuckerberg announced he plans to give away most of his wealth to help promote equality.)

“We want to make clear to people what the stakes are, and that we are strongly against the astronomical costs that come with mass deportation,” said FWD.us Chief Executive Todd Schulte.

Immigration has emerged as a central theme of the 2016 campaign, with Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump pledging to build a wall along the Mexico-U.S. border and deport those in the United States illegally (his formal position paper talks only about deporting those who’ve committed crimes).

That position falls outside of the political mainstream, according to a poll of 600 likely general election voters in Colorado, Nevada and Florida released by FWD.us.

An overwhelming majority of voters — 77 percent — find mass deportation to be an unrealistic solution to the nation’s immigration problem, the survey found. Nearly the same percentage of those questioned, 74 percent, said they prefer a presidential candidate who supports providing immigrants an earned pathway to citizenship.

FWD.us plans to expand its operations to battleground states this election cycle, where it will work to build coalitions of pro-immigration reform business and technology leaders and work to reframe the debate. It will use policy papers, videos and testimonials to explore the human and financial toll of mass deportations, which Schulte said would rip apart families and cost $600 billion in new government spending.

Schulte declined to say whether FWD.us will launch any major media campaigns to underscore its position on immigration, as it has in past elections.

A central component of FWD.us’s campaign is recruiting people to sign an “ImmigrationVoter” pledge to send a message to politicians — particularly those seeking election in swing states — that immigration reform is a top priority. The organization hopes to tap these supporters to push against mass deportation.

These efforts set the stage for FWD.us’s push for broader immigration reform in 2017, where it will argue for stronger border security and providing a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants who pass background checks, learn English and pay back taxes.

This article originally appeared on Recode.net.