Amazon founder donates $33 million for DACA scholarships

Jeff Bezos gift largest ever for TheDream.US

SAN ANTONIO – Amazon founder and The Washington Post owner Jeff Bezos, who is now considered the world’s wealthiest man, and his wife, MacKenzie, have donated $33 million in scholarships for 1,000 recipients of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.

In a news release, Bezos, the son of a Cuban immigrant said, “My dad came here 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.”

The Bezos grant was given to TheDream.US, the nation’s largest scholarship program for DACA recipients, as Congress struggles to restore the program. On Thursday, President Trump rejected a bipartisan agreement ahead of the deadline in March.

“I hope that this gift and this organization says to young people that you’re not alone, that we have your back,” said Henry Munoz, principal of San Antonio-based Muñoz & Co and lifelong Latino activist.

Munoz and Donald Graham, chairman of Graham Holdings, KSAT’s parent company, are co-founders of TheDream.US, along with Carlos Gutierrez, of Miami, a former U.S. secretary of commerce.

Bezos joins other tech titans, such as Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and Apple CEO Tim Cook, in support of Congress allowing DACA recipients, who were brought here as children, to stay in the U.S.

Still, Munoz said, “This is a philanthropic gift, not a political gift. But we know the moment in history we’re in.”

Munoz said the grant should send a message to those young people now fearful of being deported if no solution is reached.

“We haven’t forgotten you, who you really are," he said.

“We know that these young people are incredible achievers already and want to be here so badly and contribute to this country and make our country greater," Munoz said.

He said that, despite the uncertainty, he encourages DACA recipients to apply for the scholarships.

“We’re going to continue to make the case that you should stay in the U.S.,” Munoz said. “I think that this announcement and this gift, hopefully, will convince the leadership of our country that they have to do something.”

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