Jeff Bezos Donates $33 Million To Fund Scholarships For DACA Recipients

The amount will cover college tuition for 1,000 Dreamers.

As the future of DACA remains unclear, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos announced Friday that he and his wife MacKenzie will be giving a $33 million grant to support scholarships for the nearly 800,000 Dreamers across the country. Through the organization TheDream.US, the Bezos' donation will help cover college tuition for 1,000 DACA recipients. It is the largest grant ever received by the organization. 

"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," Candy Marshall, president of TheDream.US, said in a statement. "We would invite anyone who questions the value of Dreamers to please come meet some of our students."

In the statement announcing the donation, Bezos mentioned why this issue, in particular, is of importance to him and MacKenzie.

"My dad came to the U.S. when he was 16 as part of Operation Pedro Pan," he 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."

The DACA program was started under President Obama and allows for individuals who were brought to the U.S. illegally as minors to apply for protection from deportation. The Trump administration's announcement in September that it will be phasing out the program spurred demonstrations across the country and responses from activists and celebrities, including a pledge from Mark Zuckerberg and wife Priscilla Chan to fund 400 scholarships for DACA recipients. 

Earlier this week, 100 CEOs of U.S. companies, including Bezos, sent a letter to Congress urging politicians to pass legislation before Jan. 19th that will allow Dreamers to remain in the country

"In addition to causing a tremendous upheaval in the lives of DACA employees, failure to act in time will lead to businesses losing valuable talent, cause disruptions in the workforce, and will result in significant costs," the letter reads. "We have seen time and again that the overwhelming majority of the American public of all political backgrounds agrees that we should protect Dreamers from deportation..hundreds of thousands of deserving young people across the country are counting on you."

Cover image via Amazon PR

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