Tech Titans Fund Undocumented Students

Miriam Jordan, Wall Street Journal, March 6, 2012

A group of Silicon Valley technology leaders, impatient with attempts to rewrite immigration laws, is funding efforts to help undocumented youths attend college, find jobs and stay in the country despite their illegal status.

The group includes Jeff Hawkins, inventor of the Palm Pilot; and the family foundations of Andrew Grove, co-founder of Intel Corp.; and Mark Leslie, founder of the former Veritas Software Corp. Laurene Powell Jobs, widow of Apple Inc. co-founder Steve Jobs, has for years supported undocumented students through her organizations that help low-income high-school students.

The Silicon Valley money is part of a broader response by individuals and states to Congress, which hasn’t passed the Dream Act. That federal legislation would offer a path to legalization for illegal immigrants who graduate from a U.S. high school and attend college or join the military.

“We think Congress’s inaction…is devastating for these students and tragic for the country,” said Ms. Powell Jobs, who was one of the first in the tech community to champion the Dream Act by lobbying her congresswoman and writing an op-ed piece supporting the legislation.

The focus of the Silicon Valley philanthropists is Educators for Fair Consideration, or E4FC, a nonprofit that gives scholarships, career advice and legal services to students brought to the U.S. illegally as children.

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The U.S. has “put a lot of money into [undocumented students] already,” said Eva Grove, wife of Intel’s co-founder, whose family foundation gave $1 million to immigration-related groups last year. “It makes no sense to dead-end them after they are educated.”

 

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