Exploiting My Peruvian Friend - How Mark Zuckerberg, Joe Green, and FWD.us lie and accelerate the brain drain from South America

By Stuart H. Hurlbert
Volume 24, Number 4 (Summer 2014)
Issue theme: "Billionaires for Open Borders"

Immediately below is a letter from a Peruvian would-be immigrant broadcast by FWD.us on April 3, 2014. Below that is my response to this new Peruvian friend, and then a look at a January 30 message from FWD.us to the U.S. Congress, and finally, below that a description of how FWD.us president Joe Green disported himself, defaming opponents of open borders immigration at a meeting in San Diego, California on July 26, 2013.

The major objective of FWD.us is, in a nutshell, to massively increase the number of foreign hi tech workers given permanent residency in the U.S., starting with expanded quotas for H-1B visas. Unwittingly, FWD.us also supports, via so-called “comprehensive immigration reform,” the granting of permanent residency for millions of low-skilled workers via mass amnesties for illegal aliens followed by “chain immigration” for their relatives. Its founder and nominal president is Joe Green, but its main funding comes from Mark Zuckerberg, of Facebook fame, and his cronies listed at the end of this piece.

Using Peruvians for propaganda: FWD.us broadcast of April 3, 2014

Hey Friend,

My name is Emerson, and I’m an entrepreneur from Peru. I shared my immigration story on the FWD.us #BuiltByImmigrants platform last month, and I wanted to make sure you had a chance to read it. I hope you’ll take a moment to share it with your member of Congress to highlight the need for immigration reform.

I first came to San Francisco when I was 17 to attend college and study computer engineering. I took two jobs to pay for school, but that was nothing compared to what came next.

After graduation, I had only one year to stay and work. I made the most of the time by earning the Apple WWDC scholarship and launching my first startup, inClass. But that didn’t matter with my visa deadline looming in May 2011.

Thankfully, I was able to get a 17-month STEM extension on my visa and continued working to grow my company. My product reached close to 3 million students around the world with the goal of helping every student stay more organized in school.

After successfully starting inClass, I moved on to chase a bigger fish. It was surprising to see that the most connected and social generation ever was not able to connect fully with the people they see everyday in class. I co-founded StudyRoom to connect as many college students as possible with their classmates so that they could help each other and share knowledge and resources. Unfortunately, my visa extension was set to expire again in October.

No further extension was available, and no green card was possible for at least 3 more years. Every lawyer and expert I talked to about my situation simply replied with an “I’m sorry” until I heard about an especially difficult visa, the O-1. It was my only option, so I went for it. I was literally 24 hours away from being forced to leave the country, but was able to submit an application which left me in limbo for about 3 months.

In March 2013, I finally received the good news: I had secured my O-1 visa and I would be able to stay for another 3 years, and continue successfully building my company, StudyRoom. This semester we launched at four universities and reached over 26,000 students in a matter of weeks. I see this as just the beginning of a long journey to hire a lot of people, allow millions of students to improve their learning outcome, and make education a real equalizer: the way it’s supposed to be.

I feel that my story exemplifies the need to fix our broken immigration system, and I hope you’ll take a moment to share it.

Tweet my story to your member of Congress.

Or, send a letter to Congress featuring my story.

Thanks, Emerson Malca

Emerson, don’t let them buy you!

Dear Emerson,

Thank you for your unexpected note. I write as a friend of Peru. During the 1970s and 1980s I conducted with Peruvian colleagues field research on lakes and flamingos all the way from Lago Parinacochas in Ayacucho to Lago Titicaca to Tacna. The warm hospitality and helpfulness of Peruvians of all sorts, from campesinos to scientists and teachers and auto mechanics, remain strong and happy memories. The only exceptions were: the Sendero Luminoso, which prevented me from visiting Lago Parinacochas more than once; and the rateros fantasmas of Plaza de Armas in Lima who, two years in succession, relieved me of my wristwatch without me even seeing them. Yes, we gringos can be slow learners.

Your wish not to return to your own country is very disappointing. You are exactly the sort of person that Peru most needs. If all the Peruvians who study abroad with your kind of success remain abroad, what is the future of your country? In the U.S. you will be just one more techie entrepreneur out of thousands. We’d be happy to keep you, but this is not where you would make the biggest contribution to the world, let alone your home country.

Life would indeed be simpler for you in the U.S. — better infrastructure of all sorts, bigger local markets, more political stability, greater legal protections, better educational and social welfare systems, higher security for wristwatches, and so on. But even very successful, you’ll just be anther cog in the machine the Mexicans call El Coloso del Norte. Even if Facebook buys all your companies. The desire for a simpler, more comfortable life is completely understandable — but maybe, when you’re 70, it is not what you would look back on with greatest pride.

But in Peru, man, could you make a difference!! And as Thomas Friedman told us — and as you already know — The World Is Flat. The world can be your market, even from the top of the Andes. Get together with some equally bright fellow Peruvians and create a Silicon Valley South, a Coloso del Sur. Then buy Facebook! Then create a Peruvian Stanford University. Then hire Zuckerberg as your chauffeur.

You surely must sense you are being used and exploited by FWD.us. Zuckerberg and his pals have no interest whatsoever in your personal success. They may be rich and they may be clever, but they work neither in your interest nor in that of their own country, the United States, which provided the foundation for their own successes. Their interest lies entirely with increasing the wealth of U.S. managerial elites and inhibiting competition from strong technology sectors in other countries such as China, India, Brazil, Russia — and Peru!

For all these reasons, Emerson, you should not lend your voice to this ethically challenged movement. Mark Zuckerberg and FWD.us will engage in any sort of falsehood, misinformation, or distortion to support their agenda of massively increasing the importation not only of foreign tech workers into the U.S. but also increasing immigration of unskilled people into the U.S.

Let me document these charges, first by responding below to a message sent out by FWD.us on January 30, 2014 to all members of the U.S. Congress.

Data-deficient Zuckerberg “does” Congress

Emerson, your false friend, poor, gullible, data-deficient Mark Zuckerberg, seems to be experiencing growing pains from having shot so quickly from an ethically challenged undergrad to a Gordon Gecko. Let’s look at how his opinions accord with reality. At the beginning of his recent, sloppily assembled compilation from the cornucopian, open borders, and race-card-playing, cheap labor crowd we find this:

To: Members of Congress;
Congressional Offices

From: FWD.us

Date: January 30, 2014

RE: Summary Background Memo on Broad Support for Immigration Reform

Over the past few months, a broad coalition of groups has shown Congress that — in addition to 73 percent of Americans — key leaders from the business, tech, conservative, faith, and law enforcement communities support immigration reform. Immigration reform is the right thing to do for our economy, our future, and our families. The time for reform is now.

In the latter part of his message to Congress, essentially a mindless “cut and paste” of tripe from the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) website, Zuckerberg slanders those who don’t share his view of reform:

The Shocking Extremism Behind Anti-Immigrant Groups

In poll after poll, nearly 3 in 4 Americans of all backgrounds and beliefs say they support fixing our broken immigration system, because a majority of Americans recognizes that we need reforms that will work for the American economy and American families.

It’s a different story for the small minority of anti-immigrant groups reflexively opposed to any attempt to fix our broken immigration system. Here’s a look at the hateful rhetoric, extreme views, and blatant falsehoods — including ties to white supremacists and an argument that Hispanic families lack strong family values — that these organizations spout to argue against critically needed reform.

Two comments are called for. First, Americans are indeed in favor of immigration reform. In fact, if we assume that “immigration reform” is not just a euphemism for mass amnesties and large increases in immigration rates, far more than 73 percent of the U.S. electorate supports reform. The unrelenting deceptions of the mainline media notwithstanding, “immigration reform” and “massiveincreases in immigration and U.S. population growth” are not synonymous. Second, to equate, as Zuckerberg does, the holding of a different view on immigration reform from the one he holds with being anti-immigrant is, to use his words, hateful rhetoric and a blatant falsehood.

Most Americans recognize the reasons we “need reforms,” even if Zuckerberg clearly does not. There is no “reflexive” opposition to reform, so long as reform includes complete transparency, fixing a broken White House, and not caving in to special interest groups such as FWD.us and its allies.

Among immigration reform’s strongest supporters have been (sometimes for decades) a number of organizations: Federation for American Immigration Reform, NumbersUSA, Center for Immigration Studies, Negative Population Growth, Carrying Capacity Network, Population-Environment Balance, Californians for Population Stabilization, Sierra Club (prior to 1996), and Progressives for Immigration Reform, among many others, including smaller state organizations.

These all agree that “the time for reform is now,” indeed long past. Many of them were publishing specific, constructive proposals for immigration reform when Zuckerberg was in diapers.

None of the groups I mention above, which include those attacked by Zuckerberg, are “anti-immigrant.” It is as dishonest to apply that label to them as it would be to refer to Planned Parenthood as being “anti-baby.”

These groups simply advocate a return to moderate immigration levels in the neighborhood of those that obtained during the middle of the twentieth century. Legal immigration averaged 182,000 per year during the period 1930-1970. And the U.S. is a lot fuller now. Our population has grown by 194 million since 1930.

As a founder of one of those population stabilization organizations, a board member of another for a dozen years, and an acquaintance of the leaders of most of the others, I can guarantee that none of these organizations has among its founders, leaders, or staff anyone who is “white supremacist,” “racist,” or “anti-immigrant.” Zuckerberg and his pals simply cannot cite any actions or policies of these organizations that merit the expletives they assign to the organizations.

Collectively, these organizations’ leaders, boards of directors, and supporters are a mixture of political independents, moderate Democrats, moderate Republicans, environmentalists, environmental scientists, ecological economists, and so on. The wildly irresponsible mass media notwithstanding, they are not dominated by “conservative” Republicans, let alone Tea Party aficionados. The great majority would be most accurately labeled as “classical liberals.” That is, they are pro-science, pro-education, pro-environment, pro-racial equality, pro-choice, pro-church-state-separation, and pro-population stabilization — as well as, of course, pro-motherhood and pro-apple-pie.

For anyone looking for “hateful rhetoric, extreme views, and blatant falsehoods” on population and immigration issues, there is no better place to look than the website of FWD.us’s ally, the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC).

CONNECT and Rep. Scott Peters pile onto mass immigration bandwagon in San Diego, July 26, 2013

SPLC may be tops, but another forum promoting misinformation on immigration issues is CONNECT. This is a San Diego organization that defines itself as “a regional program that catalyzes the creation of innovative technology and life sciences products in San Diego County by linking inventors and entrepreneurs with the resources they need for success.” In July 2013, CONNECT sponsored a panel discussion on comprehensive immigration expansion (aka “reform”), featuring Rep. Scott Peters (D-54), FWD.us President Joe Green, and two other IT executives. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1usepr7XMzs.)

Among the other attendees were representatives from the offices of Sen. Diane Feinstein, Rep. Darrell Issa, and State Senator Joel Anderson, and from the Canadian and Mexican consulates in San Diego.

CONNECT Interim President Tyler Orion opened the discussion by saying “We’d like to thank FWD.us, because they really have taken the national leadership on not only the immigration reform policy issue but on several policy issues near and dear to CONNECT’s heart…. We appreciate your partnership… You guys are the 800 pound gorilla and we’re delighted that you are working with us.” Thus CONNECT affirms its support for the mass amnesties and great increase in legal immigration quotas that FWD.us advocates.

Next Rep. Peters makes some extended comments on how Congress is doing with the immigration reform issue. One comment he makes is especially telling: “…on the right still the concern is about the notion of a path to citizenship, there’s still a sense, that I don’t share, that people who are here illegally are breaking the law and shouldn’t be rewarded.” This is misleading in two key ways. First, the American political center, not just the right, also has a great distaste for the idea of more mass amnesties. Second, the awarding to illegal aliens of permanent residency is the major issue, not citizenship. The negative social, environmental and economic impacts of additional tens of millions of permanent residents would be little affected by whether those individuals ever applied for and received citizenship.

But at least Rep. Peters is clear about one thing: he favors amnesty followed by citizenship for illegal aliens who came yesterday, for those who came today, and for those who will come tomorrow. And the Congressional Budget Office has estimated that even were the current immigration expansion bill (S.744) to become law, illegal aliens would keep coming by the hundreds of thousands every year.

In later comments, Rep. Peters also makes clear that he wants only a “comprehensive” bill. He opposes a more transparent, honest, one-small-bill-at-a-time process that allows for better public input and discussion. That is what Sen. Feinstein had suggested when the big “comprehensive” bill of 2007 crashed in flames, following a similar crash of the 2006 “comprehensive” bill. Is there not a message here, even for slow learners?

FWD.us President Joe Green bravely goes after the “sterilizers”

Finally Joe Green gets his big chance, starting at about 1:04:50 on the video, when moderator Joe Panetta (President of BIOCOM, a coalition of Southern California biotech companies) tosses out two questions: “Who is lobbying against immigration reform? How can we impact the opposition?”

Green replies, “One of the largest groups is a group called NumbersUSA. It’s a pretty scary group. They are a population control group, advocate for things like sterilization and…they’re kind of wacky people… it’s a loud, vocal minority…”

A bald lie of the first order. NumbersUSA has never advocated for “sterilization” or for “things like” it. At least Green exercised some restraint in forgetting to mention forced abortions, euthanasia, racism, and white nationalism. Perhaps Zuckerberg had told Green that he, Zuck, wanted to save the full mantra for his January 2014 mailout to Congress.

And “scary,” “wacky,” “minority”? The lie can be given to the first two epithets by simply looking at the NumbersUSA website. Compare the principles of that organization with the self-serving ones of FWD.us.

Green’s claim that the principles of NumbersUSA are supported by only a minority of Americans is easily tested. Conduct a survey of American voters using scientific probability sampling procedures. Ask each person in the sample which they prefer — the principles and policies advocated by NumbersUSA or the changes in laws and policies in the bill (S.744) actually passed last year by the Senate. Zuckerberg and the head of Numbers-USA, Roy Beck, could oversee the process jointly to avoid bias. Given the length of S.744, this process would first require boiling that bill down to, say, the dozen biggest policy changes the law would bring about.

The cost of conducting such a poll, even with an unusually large sample size of 5,000 or 10,000 respondents, would be peanuts for a group like FWD.us. So if FWD.us President Green is so confident that Numbers-USA supporters are only a “minority,” why wouldn’t FWD.us go ahead with such a poll? It could provide them with big ammunition for the cause of comprehensive immigration expansion. And it shouldn’t take more than a few weeks to complete the whole process, A to Z.

Of course, FWD.us would never seriously contemplate doing this. Their bluff has been called. This is not a low-hanging plum available to them, and they know it.

The results of such a poll would reflect reality: the principles of NumbersUSA appeal to a much larger portion of American society than does the content of S.744. And the primary item on the agenda of FWD.us — the importation to the U.S. of hundreds of thousands of foreign hi tech workers every year — is seen for what it would be: an expensive gift to the managerial elites in one sector of the U.S. economy.

If Mark Zuckerberg, Joe Green, and their allies continue using big lies and hate-mongering in order to promote mass amnesties and mass immigration, they might consider the company they are keeping. The same tactics used by Joseph Goebbels between 1933 and 1945 didn’t get him very far. At the moment the presidents of both CONNECT and BIOCOM are on record, however, as raising no objections to such tactics. Their respective boards might take the matter under consideration. Or do they themselves aspire to becoming ill-mannered, 800 pound gorillas as well?


So getting back to our business, Emerson, perhaps we will meet someday. If we do, I will bring the pisco sours if you will bring the anticuchos de corazon and papas a la huancaina. Not a fair trade, I know, but one compensated by the excellence of my advice. In the meantime, don’t let folks exploit you who have no sincere interest in you as a person and even less in your beautiful native land.

In parting may I recommend two articles for your perusal? “How Migration Hurts Poor Countries” (Paul Collier, New York Times, December 1, 2013) and “International Migration as an Obstacle to Achieving World Stability” (John Tanton, The Ecologist 6:221-227, 1976, reprinted on page 58).

Best regards, Stuart

Appendix 1: FWD.us founders and major contributors, as listed on FWD.us website

Mark Zuckerberg, Joe Green, and other leaders of FWD.us have been anything but shy in promulgating lies and playing the race card to Congress and the general public on this issue. In the absence of their disclaimers or of public withdrawal of support from FWD.us, all the individuals below can be assumed to support the lies and tactics of Zuckerberg and Green as here exposed.



Aditya Agarwal, Dropbox

Jim Breyer, Accel Partners

Matt Cohler, Benchmark

Ron Conway, SV Angel

John Doerr, Keiner Perkins Caulfield & Byers

Bill Gates, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Joe Green, FWD.us

Reid Hoffman, LinkedIn

Drew Houston, Dropbox,

Chamath Palihapitiya, Social+Capital Partnership

Sean Parker, The Founders Fund

Ruchi Sanghvi, Dropbox

Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook



Tim Armstrong, AOL, Inc.

Steve Ballmer, Microsoft

Steve Chen, YouTube

Brian Chesky, Airbnb

Chris Cox, Facebook

Barry Diller, IAC

Stanley F. Druckenmiller, Duquesne Family Office

John Fisher, KIPP

Paul Graham, Y Combinator

Reed Hastings, Netflix,

Chad Hurley, AVOS

Josh James, Domo

Dick Kramlich, NEA Management Company

Max Levchin, PayPal and Yelp

Joe Lonsdale, Formation 8

Andrew Mason, Groupon

Marissa Mayer, Yahoo!

Mary Meeker, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers

Dave Morin, Path

John Oringer, Shutterstock

Hadi Partovi, Code.org

Greg Penner, Madrone Capital Partners

Alison Pincus, One Kings Lane

Mark Pincus, Zynga

Keith Rabois, Khosla Ventures

Hosain Rahman, Jawbone

Eric Schmidt, Google

Darian Shirazi, Radius

Brad Smith, Microsoft

Kevin Systrom, Instagram

Padmasree Warrior, Cisco

Fred Wilson, Union Square Ventures and Flatiron Partners

Appendix 2: Response of officers and other leaders of BIOCOM and CONNECT to tactics being used by FWD.us

The key leaders of BIOCOM and CONNECT are listed below. Most presumably were little aware, until they saw this article, of the degree to which the leaders of FWD.us have been using innuendo, character assassination, and falsehoods to smear those individuals and organizations fighting for lower immigration rates and population stabilization.

We showed the manuscript of this article to these persons and offered them the opportunity to individually and publicly indicate their disapproval of the crude and unethical tactics of FWD.us herein documented. In doing so, we stated that we would make clear that their admitted disapproval would imply nothing about whether they agree or disagree with FWD.us’s objectives of increased mass amnesties and increased mass immigration.



Joseph D. Panetta, President and CEO

Jennifer Landress, Senior VP and COO

Rick Fultz, VP of Business Development

Jimmy Jackson, VP of Public Policy

Liisa Bozinovic, Executive Director, Biocom Institute

Magda Marquet, Board Chair

Theodore Schroeder, Board Chair Elect

Carin Canale-Theakston, Board Vice Chair

Lisa Haile, VP and General Counsel

Daniel Kleeburg, VP of Finance

Daniel Burgess, VP and Secretary

Shaye Exner, Sr Director of Conferences



Greg McKee, CEO

Kevin Carroll, Executive VP

Ruprecht von Buttlar, VP for Business Creation and Development

Gary Klein, VP for Public Policy

Karen Winston, VP for Program Development

Tyler Orion, Interim President

Ted Roth, Association C6 Board Chair

Paul Laikind, Foundation C3 Board Chair

Theresa Andrews, Director for Public Policy

Not one of these individuals wished to publicly dissociate themselves from the rhetoric and tactics of FWD.us. I then suggested, in a June 13, 2014 email to the above people:

an easy option that would get this monkey off the back of BIOCOM and CONNECT in a dignified and efficient way.… As presidents of the two organizations, Mr. Panetta and Ms. Orion might, on behalf of the entirety of the two organizations, simply submit for inclusion in Appendix 2 of my article a statement such as the following:

As presidents of BIOCOM and CONNECT, we wish to disavow any support by our organizations for the falsehoods and smears put out by Mr. Zuckerberg and Mr. Green, as described in the article by Stuart Hurlbert.

Signed: Joe Panetta, President of BIOCOM

Tyler Orion, Interim President of CONNECT

Despite multiple attempts on my part, the CONNECT leadership opted to provide no response.

From the president of BIOCOM, however, I received this threatening response, copied to BIOCOM General Counsel Lisa Haile and to the president of my university, Elliot Hirshman:

From: Panetta, Joe <JPanetta@biocom.org>

To: “hurlbert@mail.sdsu.edu” <hurlbert@mail.sdsu.edu>

Cc: “lisa.haile@dlapiper.com” <lisa.haile@dlapiper.com>,

“ellioth@mail.sdsu.edu” <ellioth@mail.sdsu.edu>

Date:Mon, Jun 16, 2014 at 9:19 AM

Subject: FW: Threatening Message from Stuart Hurlbert @ SDSU

Dear Stuart:

President Hirschman [sic] represents SDSU on our Board, not you. You have in your correspondence identified yourself as an SDSU faculty member. If you have an issue with Biocom, please take it up with him and not me. I rely solely upon him and his designated faculty members for commentary regarding SDSU’s positions on all Biocom policy-related issues.


Joe Panetta, President & CEO, Biocom

4510 Executive Drive, Plaza One

San Diego, CA 92121

O: 858.455.0300 x103 |F: 858.455.0022

That seemed a tad bizarre and hostile. I replied as follows and heard nothing from President Panetta or President Hirshman thereafter:

From: Stuart Hurlbert <hurlbert@mail.sdsu.edu>

Date: Mon, Jun 16, 2014 at 11:05 AM

Subject: Re: FW: Threatening Message from Stuart Hurlbert @ SDSU

To: “Panetta, Joe” <JPanetta@biocom.org>

Cc: “lisa.haile@dlapiper.com” <lisa.haile@dlapiper.com>, “ellioth@mail.sdsu.edu” <ellioth@mail.sdsu.edu>, PanettaJosephD <mfromson@biocom.org>

Dear Joe,

I am indeed an emeritus professor at SDSU and, as the byline of my article indicates, an active member of many other organizations. But neither in my article or my email messages have I pretended to represent SDSU (or any other organization) on this BIOCOM/CONNECT issue. The SDSU administration does not involve itself in approving or censoring the writings of even its active faculty members let alone its retired ones.

Thus I fail to understand why you recommend my involving SDSU President Hirshman in this matter. So far as I am aware, he did not sponsor the June 2013 CONNECT/BIOCOM meeting, did not attend it, and has not condoned the sort of slanderous remarks made by Joe Green at that meeting.

You are president of BIOCOM, were a sponsor of the meeting and a moderator of that panel discussion, and have full, first-hand information as to what transpired there, and access to the video recording of the session that bears out the accuracy of my representations. In those capacities, it seems to me that you are the only person in a position to dissociate yourself and BIOCOM from the rhetoric of Mssrs Green and Zuckerberg and that you have the solidest of grounds for doing so, with no muss and no fuss.

I will move ahead on the assumption you will persist in thinking that somehow this is a matter for Dr. Hirshman, rather than yourself, to take action on. If, however, you wish more time to think about it, please have Mary Fromson [Assistant to President Panetta] contact me immediately.

Best regards,

Stuart Hurlbert


About the author

Stuart H. Hurlbert is an ecologist, an emeritus professor of biology at San Diego State University, President of Scientists and Environmentalists for Population Stabilization, former Board Secretary of Californians for Population Stabilization, and member of the Sierra Club, American Civil Liberties Union, and numerous scientific societies.