Amazon Founder Steps Into The DACA Debate With Huge Donation


Welcome to The Resistance. Once a movement that belonged mostly to activism groups and grass-roots, the Resistance is now officially mainstream. One of the fronts where the resistance is active is standing up for DREAMers.

The latest tycoon to step into the arena is Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon and owner of The Washington Post. On Friday he announced that he would be donating $33 million to a scholarship fund known as TheDream.US, which makes it possible for roughly 3,000 DREAMers to attend college in the United States.

The donation “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.” – Candy Marshall, president of TheDream.US

Bezos’ donation will allow another 1,000 DREAMers to access higher education, raising the number of scholarships awarded by one-third. Bezos, who is notably the richest person in the world, will be donating the sum of money to the program that launched in 2014.

The Resistance Gains Traction

In a letter to Congress this week, Bezos was among the more than 100 corporate leaders that called on lawmakers to find a solution to the end of DACA. The leaders warned of an “impending crisis for workforces across the country.” Others who signed on included Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook, Tim Cook of Apple, and leaders from General Motors, AT&T, the Gap, Target, Starbucks, Johnson & Johnson, Warby Parker, Uber, Lyft, and more. The unification of corporations in an effort to save DREAMers is an astounding development and signals a growing popular resistance against what the Trump administration’s regressive policies.

Honoring Immigrants

Donald E. Graham founded TheDream.US with Carlos Gutierrez, the former commerce secretary under George W. Bush; as well as Henry R. Muñoz III, the finance chairman for the Democratic National Committee. Graham founded The Washington Post and sold the company to Bezos in 2013.

In June, Bezos asked his Twitter followers for suggestions on where do donate – Graham seized the opportunity and suggested that Bezos use his fortune to help DREAMers, who at this moment are some of our country’s most vulnerable residents.

In his donation announcement, Bezos cited the story of his Cuban father’s immigration to the United States as the reason behind his decision:

“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.”

Trump vs. Bezos

The Amazon founder has been a personal target of Trump’s – the president accused him of purchasing The Post to “advance his business interests” – as if Trump does not seize the opportunity to make money in whatever way he can. Trump recently called Amazon’s agreements with the US Postal Service unfair and called on the USPS to raise shipping rates in order to benefit the federal agency. Bezos did not respond but has stated that the current arrangement is in fact quite profitable for the USPS.

Bezos’ decision to support DREAMers can be largely read as a rebuke of  Trump. And while corporations stepping in to fight for immigrants is a strange development, it’s a great sign. Trump and his administration may win legislative victories, but it will forever stand on the wrong side of history.


Featured Image via Wikimedia Commons/Public Domain