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Facebook CEO publicly calls for immigration reform

SAN FRANCISCO — Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg spoke out publicly for the first time Monday in favor of immigration reform, an issue he’s been working on behind the scenes for several months.

The 29-year-old billionaire made his remarks in San Francisco at the debut screening of ‘‘Documented,’’ an autobiographical documentary by activist and journalist Jose Antonio Vargas. Zuckerberg disputed the notion that he and other Silicon Valley leaders are just trying to secure more H1B visas for high-tech workers.

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“This is something that we believe is really important for the future of our country — and for us to do what’s right,’’ he told several hundred attendees, including House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.

Zuckerberg and his former Harvard University roommate Joe Green recently founded the organization Fwd.us to advocate for a pathway to citizenship for nearly 11 million immigrants in the United States illegally.

He said he first became aware of the need to change the immigration system while volunteering to teach a class on entrepreneurship at a Menlo Park school. Many of the students had been brought into the United States illegally.

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