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Jeff Bezos donates $33 million for college scholarships for Dreamers

jeff bezosEvan Vucci/AP

  • Jeff Bezos donated $33 million to provide college
    scholarships to illegal immigrants brought to the US as
    children by their parents, known as ‘Dreamers.’
  • Bezos has been vocal in pressuring the Trump
    administration and Congress to bring back protections to
  • Bezos made the donation in honor of his father, who
    fled Cuba to the US alone when he was 15, went to college in
    the US, and lived the American dream, including raising the boy
    who would found Amazon and become the richest man in the

As members of Congress duke it out over if and how they will
solve the situation of 800,000 illegal immigrants brought to the
US as children –  the world’s richest man has stepped in
with a strong message.

Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos and his wife, MacKenzie,
are donating $33 million to Thedream.us, an
organization that helps Dreamers pay for a college education.

The money will fund the education of 1,000 Dreamers, if they have
graduated from high school and they are part of the The
Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. DACA is a
program that began under former President Barack Obama that
allowed Dreamers to obtain school visas, get jobs, pay taxes, and
so on.

But the DACA program didn’t solve the underlying problem:
Dreamers still live in a legal gray zone. So traditional forms of
paying for college, like government grants and students loans,
were often unavailable to them.

Bezos made the donation in honor of his father, Mike Bezos, who
fled Cuba alone when he was 15. Mike eventually worked his way
through the University of Albuquerque and then went on to work at
Exxon as a petroleum engineer before meeting Jeff’s
mom, Jackie, the daughter of a high-level Atomic Energy
Commission official. 

“My dad came to the U.S. when he was 16 as part of Operation
Pedro Pan,” said Jeff Bezos in a statement
the donation. “He landed in this country alone and
unable to speak English. With a lot of grit and determination –
and the help of some remarkable organizations in Delaware – my
dad became an outstanding citizen, and he continues to give back
to the country that he feels blessed him in so many ways.
MacKenzie and I are honored to be able to help today’s Dreamers
by funding these scholarships.”

Bezos’ parents founded the Bezos Family Foundation, a
philanthropy organization focused on charitable giving to

President Donald Trump ended the DACA program and gave Congress
until March to pass a law permanently fixing it.
But Congress has been deadlocked on the issue, with
Republicans insisting that the law would have to include a
provision to build a massive wall on the Southern border with
Mexico. Democrats oppose the wall and the billions of dollars of
US taxpayer money that would be spent on it.

Bezos, who overtook Bill Gates in October to reign as the
world’s richest man, has been openly urging President Trump to
authorize DACA again. He was one of 400 executives who signed an
open letter in September to Trump and he was one of over 100
executives who
signed another letter earlier this week
urging Congress to
pass the bill before the deadline.

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