Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, recently announced that he’d be donating $33 million to the largest scholarship program for “Dreamers,” a group of undocumented immigrants who were brought to the U.S. as children.
In a statement on the scholarship’s webpage, the CEO explained that his donation to TheDream.US program will provide “1,000 undocumented immigrant graduates of U.S. high schools with DACA status the opportunity to go to college.”
The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, also known as DACA, is program created by the Obama administration to protect undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. as minors from deportation. The program gives support to nearly 700,000 Dreamers, but now the Trump administration is phasing it out. The new administration gave a 6-month delay to recipients in 2017; this means that the Department of Homeland Security will allow previously-issued permits to expire beginning March 5.
Bezos also explained why this issue matters to him and his wife MacKenzie ― highlighting that his adopted father was an immigrant who fled Cuba.
“My dad came to the U.S. when he was 16 as part of Operation Pedro Pan,” Bezos said.
“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 made the announcement following President Trump’s no-infamous remarks about immigrant groups, calling their homelands “shithole countries.” Trump allegedly singled out Haitian immigrants in those comments as well, saying that they specifically should be left out of any deal.
Candy Marshall, president of TheDream.US, issued a follow up statement noting that the grant from the Bezos family “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. We would invite anyone who questions the value of Dreamers to please come meet some of our students.”