Amazon's Jeff Bezos donates $33 million to scholarship fund for DACA's 'dreamers'

Cheryl Sanders
January 13, 2018

Amazon founder Jeff Bezos announced Friday that he and his wife MacKenzie are donating $33 million to fund college scholarships for undocumented immigrants.

The money will go to a scholarship fund that will pay for 1,000 illegal immigrant high schoolers to go to college.

TheDream.US was set up in 2014 by Donald Graham, former publisher of The Washington Post, The Hill said.

Dreamers don't qualify for federal grants, loans, and can't get government backed financial aid in 44 states, but with his private donation, Bezos is making aid available.


"My dad came to the USA when he was 16 as part of Operation Pedro Pan", Bezos said in a statement.

In a press release announcing the grant, Bezos noted that his stepfather Miguel was born in Spain and immigrated to the US from Cuba when he was 15 years old.

"With a lot of grit and determination - and the help of some remarkable organizations in DE - my dad became an outstanding citizen", said Bezos. "MacKenzie and I are honored to be able to help today's Dreamers by funding these scholarships".

In September, Trump ended DACA, an Obama-era program protecting young people who were brought to the United States illegally as children from deportation. Currently, some 2,850 college students receive aid from the program.


Though the timing may be coincidental, Friday's news caps off a busy week for USA immigration policy: The Trump administration announced the end of Temporary Protected Status for almost 200,000 people from El Salvador; a federal judge in California ordered Trump to keep DACA protections in place until lawsuits against its rollback are resolved; and the president caused public outcry after he reportedly decried protections for people from "shithole countries" like Haiti and El Salvador.

Bezos, the world's wealthiest man, has faced criticism in the past for not engaging in philanthropy at the same level as fellow multi-billionaires like Bill Gates.

"It is a shot in the arm for Dreamer students at a time when some are questioning whether they should be in the United States at all", she said in an announcement.

In a bid to bolster the negotiations, more than 100 corporate leaders this week co-signed a letter to Congress calling for immediate legal relief to dreamers.


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