Ralph Benko

Problems caused by America’s broken immigration system are causing misery to America’s immigrant community (both legal residents and undocumented), and, for good measure, to the president, the GOP and American society. There may be only one person with both the intentionality and the resources to resolve America’s immigration predicament: Mark Zuckerberg, founder and CEO of Facebook.

Why Zuckerberg? Zuckerberg has entered the ranks of leading philanthropists (and at a much earlier age than most). He has done so for the cause of humane immigration reform, calling it “one of the biggest civil rights issues of our time.”

Zuckerberg’s generosity, however, is the least of his value to taking this issue forward. The greatest gift that Zuckerberg would bring, should he choose to do so, is his personal grasp of social networking. The only path forward is rooted in reweaving the social fabric beneath the political rift underlying comprehensive immigration reform.

Politics lags society. Zuckerberg alone has shown that he might have the insight to see, and the power to change at scale, the underlying problem.

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The father of community organizing, Saul Alinsky, long ago, anticipated the pivotal role that someone like Zuckerberg could play. Let Them Call Me Rebel, the definitive biography of Alinsky by Sanford Horwitt, tells us that Alinsky once wrote to his friend Howard Shaw that “once people get to know each other as human beings rather than as impersonal symbols representing diverse philosophies and organizations, then a new set of relationships composed of genuine understanding and real sympathy will arise.” Herein lies the key.

Alinsky is a much misunderstood figure. He often is wrongly vilified by the right as a communist. Alinsky was thoroughly investigated by J. Edgar Hoover’s FBI for alleged communist sympathies. He was fully exonerated. Alinsky is idolized by much of the left, yet often for the wrong reasons. Alinsky, for instance, hated Big Government and famously called LBJ’s War on Poverty “political pornography.”

Ralph Benko

Ralph Benko, author of The Websters’ Dictionary: How to use the Web to transform the world. He serves as an advisor to and editor of the Lehrman Institute's thegoldstandardnow.org and senior advisor to the American Principles Project.