Though Steve Jobs (News - Alert) has passed, his legacy remains--as does his widow Laurene Powell Jobs, who has dreams of her own. Powell Jobs has always been a philanthropist, and now she has become an advocate for the Dream Act, along with filmmaker Davis Guggenheim.
On Tuesday, Guggenheim--of “Waiting for Superman” and “An Inconvenient Truth” fame--launched a website with Powell Jobs to push for passage of certain provisions in the Dream act.
The website is www.thedreamisnow.org, and will work toward passing the federal bill, first introduced in the Senate in 2001. The Dream Act gives illegal immigrants known as DREAMers, brought to the United States as children, a pathway to permanent residency in the U.S. “They’re our children’s friends. They are people we know,” said Powell Jobs. “This is a huge national problem that needs resolution.”
The website is a platform for DREAMers to share their stories, as a way “to put a face to these people,” said Powell Jobs, to personify the many anonymous suffering what Powell Jobs and others feel are significant injustices.
“There needed to be a demystification,” added Powell Jobs, and a way “to hear the individual stories.”
One such story is of a young woman known as Cendy, who spoke to the public via webcam, and is featured on the site. “All my siblings are documented except me,” said Cendy. “I know I have a lot of potential, but that I might not get there because my status will hold me back.”
She is one of millions of illegal immigrants, teachers, relatives and friends of young DREAMers encouraged to submit videos and posts to site, which Guggenheim will incorporate into a new documentary film on the issue. She described making the video as “a little scary at first, but the benefit of coming out, not being afraid anymore, got a lot of weight off my shoulders.”
In a statement to Yahoo News, Guggenheim said, “These DREAMers are putting everything on the line. When they come out like this, they are saying ‘I’m ready to risk it all for what I believe.’” Guggenheim hopes the website initiative will become “a living, breathing petition” in both online and documentary form, with the help of Powell Jobs, and others including President Barack Hussein Obama and Florida Senator Marco Rubio, the son of Cuban immigrants and rising star of the GOP.
Powell Jobs described Rubio’s latest discussion on granting expedited status to young immigrants as “reasonable and principled,” but added that she felt “the key is to see the legislation once it’s written.”
The Dream Act would legalize young persons under the age of 30 who entered the United States before they were 15 years of age, and have lived in the country continuously for five years or more. The only other qualifications included would be proof that the person has not had a criminal record, and that they will enlist in the military or attend at least two years of college.
Some versions also include a high-school degree.
The closest the Dream Act has come to passing was in December of 2010, when it passed in the House but fell short of 5 votes in the Senate. Powell Jobs and Guggenheim hope that thedreamisnow.org will put the fire under the President’s feet, as well as both Republicans and Democrats in the House and the Senate.
Those who choose to upload videos to the site will likely face no legal backlash or deportation due to Obama’s deferred action directive, but there is a danger of potential job-loss if the people are identified and shown to have no work permits.
However, the risk could most certainly be worth the reward, and many young people like Cendy feel it is their duty to participate in initiatives like thedreamisnow.org, and Powell Jobs and Guggenheim are giving them the platform they need to do make their voices heard and their faces known.
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Edited by Amanda Ciccatelli