The scholarship program, The Dream.US that was launched back in 2014 has awarded scholarships to more than 1700 immigrants which are worth more than $19 million in financial assistance.
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"My dad came to the USA when he was 16 as part of Operation Pedro Pan", said Jeff Bezos. In partnership with more than 70 low-priced colleges in 15 states, The Dream.US offers $33,000 scholarship aid for an individual student over four years.
"Our students are highly motivated and determined to succeed in college and in life", Candy Marshall, president of TheDream.US, said in a statement. In announcing the donation, Bezos talked about his father, who was unable to speak English when he arrived in the U.S. from Cuba as a 16-year-old.
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The website noted the Dreamers have been covered by the Deferred Action for Childhood arrivals (DACA) program, which President Donald Trump has moved to rescind. "MacKenzie and I are honored to be able to help today's Dreamers by funding these scholarships". This program was implemented by President Obama in 2012. "We would invite anyone who questions the value of Dreamers to please come meet some of our students".
Democrats, under intense pressure from immigrant advocates, are trying to use their leverage to force a long-sought immigration deal as part of talks to keep the government open beyond a January 19 spending deadline. An estimated 65,000 teens who are DACA recipients, or are eligible for the program, graduate from high school each year. Bezos purchased the newspaper in 2013. The organization, which is less than four years old, says this is the largest grant it has ever received.
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Other donors to TheDream.US include Bezos' parents Miguel and Jackie, Pierre Omidyar, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Ford Foundation, the Coca-Cola and PepsiCo Foundations, the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative and Bloomberg Philanthropies.