An advocacy group founded by Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg to push for more flexible immigration laws launched Thursday the first of a six-part web series looking at the potential impact of mass deportation.
Called “11 Million Stories,” the first episode takes a fictionalized look into the likely economic and social costs of deporting the estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants living in the U.S.
“This video is about showing the astronomical costs that mass deportation would have for our economy, our communities and to millions of families," said the president of the group, FWD.us, in a statement.
"It would bring a $1.7 trillion dollar hit to our economy, destroy communities and rip children away from their parents. Our goal is to make sure people know that mass deportation is an absurd and awful plan," he added.
The video, about three minutes long, revisits points about deportation that FWD.us and Zuckerberg have made before in speaking out against it.
The inaugural episode shows a hypothetical reality somewhere in the future, with immigrants of various nationalities and races recounting their experiences the “deportation army” and describing how displacement affected their lives.
The clip begins with presidential candidates Donald Trump and Rick Santorum, both Republicans, talking about how mass deportation would work.
“We’re rounding them up in a very humane way, in a nice way,” Trump says. In another scene, Santorum says, “We would go through the process of contacting them and moving forward with their removal.”
After the sound of many people marching, a man appears, visibly horrified, saying: “They were wearing bullet-proof vests, guns drawn, throwing people to the ground like they were pieces of garbage.”
Then a diverse group of immigrants, separately, recount how deportation devastated them by ripping apart their families, carting off coworkers, leaving crops to die, and how they lived in fear.
“I stopped leaving my house,” one woman says. “I stayed inside because I was afraid that they would find me, that they would take me away from my family.”
The video ends with a child speaking of adults arguing over whether she should stay or leave.
“But I was born here,” the child says.
The video was directed by Colombian filmmaker Paola Mendoza.
According to FWD.us estimates, the costs of mass deportation would amount to some $600 billion, and lost economic productivity would total $1.7 trillion.
FWD.us, which Zuckerberg launched in 2013 and includes such tech partners as Bill Gates, Reid Hoffman and Eric Schmidt, aims to be a counter-force to what it sees as the hostile approach to immigration being pushed by certain GOP presidential candidates.