For many, the American Dream seems to be falling out of reach: mobility is stagnant and too many are denied the opportunity to achieve their full potential. Our immigration system is fundamentally broken and outdated. Our criminal justice system is in need of reform at the local, state and national levels. As these problems mount, our democracy is becoming increasingly polarized and gridlocked. Left unchecked, this political paralysis poses real risks for our country and our future.
Our community needs to reckon with these challenges. The new knowledge economy has the potential to produce dynamism as well as dislocation, innovation as well as inequality. It’s up to us to fashion a future that reflects tech’s best values and virtues. We must push for policies that not only move the knowledge economy forward, but give everyone the opportunity to participate in it. Every day we bring incredible ingenuity and passion to our work; it’s time to bring that same spirit to our democracy.
FWD.us was launched in the spring of 2013 because we saw an important window of opportunity to help fix our country’s broken immigration system. We knew it would be a tough fight, and that to succeed the tech community would need to come together as an organized political force. We also recognized that technology could make it easier for people to tell their stories and push for meaningful political change. In a matter of weeks, FWD.us went from a mere idea to a leading organization in the fight for comprehensive immigration reform.
We begin with a basic premise: every person should have the chance to contribute to our economy and society. It doesn’t matter where a person comes from or who his or her parents are: creativity, talent, and the willingness to work hard are what count. These values are fundamental to the tech community because human ability provides the foundation for everything we do. We know that denying opportunity to some diminishes prosperity for everyone.
FWD.us has focused on immigration reform first because America’s broken system prevents far too many talented immigrants from fully contributing to our communities and our economy. FWD.us supports a comprehensive legislative fix to our broken immigration system. It’s been a hard fight, but we have celebrated great victories along the way. Thanks to President Obama’s executive actions on immigration, nearly five million individuals will soon be able to apply for work permits to contribute to our economy, and millions of families will live free from the fear of deportation and separation from their loved ones. Additionally, the White House has pledged to make it easier for immigrant entrepreneurs to come to the United States to create American jobs, and for the world’s best and brightest to continue contributing to our country after studying at our universities. These actions are estimated to add hundreds of billions of dollars to our economy over the coming decade.
FWD.us is proud to have played a role in these achievements, but executive action is no substitute for legislation. As the House and Senate continue to work toward a legislative solution, we remain process-agnostic and supportive of commonsense policy solutions put forward by members on both sides of the aisle. This includes the bipartisan Immigration Innovation (or “I-Squared”) Act, which would strengthen innovation and make it easier for foreign STEM students to contribute to our economic growth. This bill is not the comprehensive solution that FWD.us fights for every day, but it’s an important step in the right direction.
Who We Are & What We Do
The following six principles are central to who we are and what we do:
Tech is in our DNA. Our founders, members and supporters come from the tech community. FWD.us provides a way for us to come together to create a potent new political movement. And we use technology to enable more people to participate in our democracy and advocate for policy change.
We do politics. We know there are many ways to make an impact in the world. Some groups provide direct social services, some write code, others give out scholarships. Through local chapters and online advocacy we give people opportunities to fight for transformational policies that can ripple out and affect millions of lives. We know that politics isn’t pretty and that sometimes it can be tempting to opt out. But when it comes to fixing this country’s biggest challenges, disengagement just isn’t an option.
Our work is deeply rooted in our values and commitment to the public good. FWD.us isn’t an interest group or a trade association. We don’t represent particular companies, so the bottom line is never our bottom line. We believe that the same principles of opportunity and innovation that have been fundamental to tech’s success are also fundamental to the country’s success.
We pick fights where we can make a BIG IMPACT. With America facing so many serious challenges, we’re not content to nibble around the edges. We push for policies that overhaul entrenched systems and benefit large numbers of people.
We seize opportunities. We seek out political openings where a savvy campaign can tip the scales to deliver a significant state or federal victory.
We work with allies from both sides of the aisle. We aren’t naïve; we recognize that political polarization is very real. But we believe it’s still possible for people of good faith to come together and agree on common sense solutions to many important challenges.