'Dreamers' Poised for Online Push Toward Immigration Reform

Thursday, 07 Nov 2013 10:49 AM

By Lisa Barron

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FWD.us, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s lobby group, has introduced the young illegal immigrants who will take part in this month’s “hackathon” contest in Silicon Valley.

FWD.us founder and president Joe Green said on the group’s blog post that the 20 participants will team with mentors to code and create projects to promote comprehensive immigration reform.

“We’re thrilled to announce the Dreamer engineers and product designers who will be joining our Hackathon on Nov. 20 and Nov. 21,” he wrote, referring to young people who were brought to the U.S. as small children and have remained here illegally.

The bipartisan Dream Act — an acronym for Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors — was introduced in 2001 by Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois and Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah. It would provide "dreamers" with permanent residency.

“Hundreds of applicants took the time to apply, and we were extremely impressed with the breadth of their experience, their perseverance in the face of incredible odds, and the passion they have for immigration reform and for tech,” Green said.

He revealed that Zuckerberg, LinkedIn founder Reid Hoffman, Groupon founder and former CEO Andrew Mason, and Dropbox founder and CEO Drew Houston would be among those on hand to provide guidance.

“We’re excited to see what our Dreamers and mentors produce during the Hackathon,” Green wrote. “Teams will begin strategizing together in the next few weeks, with their work culminating in 24 straight hours of coding at LinkedIn HQ.”

The participants, many of whom are college students hoping to pursue a career in technology, come from Arizona, California, North Carolina, Wisconsin, Virginia, and New York.

The group announced the contest last month, stating on its website, “Each team will create a project or application that could help supporters share stories, contact members of Congress or show family and friends why they want meaningful immigration reform.”

Zuckerberg visited Capitol Hill last month to urge members of Congress to support an immigration overhaul, reports The Los Angeles Times.

The Senate passed a bill that would grant citizenship to millions of illegal immigrants, but the legislation has not been brought to a vote in the GOP-controlled House.

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