Amazon founder Jeff Bezos and his wife MacKenzie Bezos donated $33 million to a scholarship fund for undocumented young people who were brought to the United States as children, the group announced Friday.
TheDream.US said in a statement that the Bezos’ donation would pay for 1,000 scholarships for so-called “Dreamers” to attend college, and that it was the largest donation in the group’s history.
“My dad came to the U.S. when he was 16 as part of Operation Pedro Pan,” Jeff Bezos said in a statement accompanying the news, referring to his Cuban-American father, Mike Bezos. “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,” he added.
The donation came within a day of the Washington Post’s reporting that President Donald Trump, during a meeting with legislators Thursday, called Haiti, El Salvador and unnamed African countries “shitholes” from which the United States should not accept immigrants.
Trump said Friday that he’d used “tough” language during the meeting, and that the United States should reject “large numbers” of immigrants from “high crime” countries.
In September, Trump ended DACA, an Obama-era program protecting young people who were brought to the United States illegally as children from deportation. He’s charged legislators with coming up with a replacement for the program, but has also at times appeared to cheer for that legislative process’s failure, as he did Friday:
Sadly, Democrats want to stop paying our troops and government workers in order to give a sweetheart deal, not a fair deal, for DACA. Take care of our Military, and our Country, FIRST!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 12, 2018
One of the co-founders of TheDream.US is the former publisher of the Washington Post, Donald E. Graham. In 2013, Bezos’ personal investment firm, Nash Holdings, purchased the paper.
Bezos, the world’s wealthiest man, has faced criticism in the past for not engaging in philanthropy at the same level as fellow multi-billionaires like Bill Gates. In June of last year, he posted a “request for ideas,” asking his Twitter followers for “short term” philanthropy proposals.