TheDream.US — a scholarship fund for immigrants who came to the United States as undocumented minors — announced Friday that Amazon's CEO, Jeff Bezos, and his wife MacKenzie donated $33 million, representing the largest grant in the organization's history.
That grant, the organization said, would fund a thousand scholarships, each amounting to $33,000 over four years. In a statement, Bezos indicated his immigrant father inspired the donation:
“My dad came to the U.S. when he was 16 as part of Operation Pedro Pan. 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 announcement came as Democrats pressed the White House for an immigration deal that would grant legal protection to recipients of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. According to TheDream.US, 800,000 “Dreamers” received protection under that program since 2012.
But it's unclear whether Dreamers will even have legal status in the coming years if politicians can't agree on an immigration reform package.
While both the White House and congressional Democrats called for immigration reform, they differed dramatically on one of President Donald Trump's non-negotiable provisions: the border wall.
While Trump has repeatedly said he wouldn't support immigration reform without border wall funding, Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-Texas) indicated that provision would prevent Democrats from supporting the bill.
“I will certainly vote against it and I know most Democrats will vote against it,” Castro said of House members. “In the Senate, they have different rules and it’s a different matter. But I would suspect that you will have the overwhelming majority of Democrats vote against it, yes.”
Trump may need Democratic support in the Senate, where Republican's narrow majority falls just short of the 60 votes needed to avoid a filibuster.