Zuckerberg, Chan give $5M to undocumented-immigrant college fund

Donation aims to aid Bay Area students who are eligible for U.S. Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and wife Priscilla Chan are donating $5 million to TheDream.US, a scholarship fund for young undocumented immigrants, Zuckerberg announced Wednesday.

"America was founded as a nation of immigrants. We ought to welcome smart and hardworking young people from every nation and to help everyone in our society achieve their full potential," Zuckerberg wrote in a Facebook post.

TheDream.US was founded in 2013 by Don Graham, his wife, journalist Amanda Bennett, philanthropist Henry R. Muñoz III and former U.S. Secretary of Commerce Carlos Gutierrez.

The organization provides up to $25,000 in scholarships for undocumented students deemed eligible for the country's Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, a policy President Barack Obama created by executive order in 2012. The initiative was in part a reaction to the defeat of the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act, which failed to pass in Congress in 2010.

DACA calls for "deferred action" against certain undocumented youth who were brought to the U.S. as children and authorizes these non-U.S. citizens to remain in the country and apply for a work permit. Under DACA, deferred action is currently valid for three years.

In 2014, Obama expanded DACA so that more immigrants who arrived or remained in the U.S. illegally as children could qualify.

To qualify for DACA, applicants must meet certain requirements including arrival in the U.S. before their 16th birthday; continuous residency in the U.S. since June 15, 2007; 31 years old or younger on June 15, 2012; completion of high school or receipt of a GED, honorary discharge from the military, or current enrollment in school; and no conviction of a felony or serious misdemeanor, according to the Department of Homeland Security.

Zuckerberg and Chan's donation will be used specifically to aid undocumented immigrants in the San Francisco Bay Area attend college, according to a press release.

"This is just a small step towards creating immigration and education solutions that help our community and country make progress," Zuckerberg wrote.

Related content:

Undocumented 'Dreamers' await passage of immigration legislation that would change their lives

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