Mark Zuckerberg, the creator and founder of Facebook.com and one of today’s most widely famous entrepreneurs, has taken on the new role of immigration advocate, a role that has also garnered him much media attention.
Recently, Mr. Zuckerberg again made headlines with his organization, FWD.us. The purpose of the FWD.us organization is to increase awareness and support for comprehensive immigration reform in the United States, and specifically in relaxing or opening up immigration laws to facilitate immigration to the country.
Through FWD.us, Mr. Zuckerberg announced a “DREAMer Hackathon” which was a 24-hour coding competition held in November 2013 that paired DREAMer participants to Silicon Valley information technology volunteers in order to create the best immigration reform driven web applications.
Who are DREAMers?
DREAMers (named after the DREAM Act) are the hundreds of thousands of undocumented foreign nationals who were brought to the United States as minors and who remain here without immigration status. DREAMers themselves have been prominently featured in the news spotlight in the past, especially with implementation of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) policy instituted by the Obama Administration in 2012. DACA allows for qualifying foreign nationals to suspend deportation proceedings for two years and to receive work authorization.
Mr. Zuckerberg’s DREAMer Hackathon
DREAMers who participated in the Hackathon were matched with individuals already working in Silicon Valley. Some the most successful innovators of the IT and social media industries participated in the event, including LinkedIn founder Mr. Reid Hoffman and DropBox creator Mr. Drew Houston.
The DREAMers were split into teams and paired with mentors, programmers, and web designers from these and other top technology-based companies. From the teams, FWD.us selected the most innovative projects and ideas and the three winners are spotlighted below.
The Hackathon Winning Team
The winning team of the Hackathon was composed of three DREAMers, Luis Aguilar, Kent Tam, and Justino Mora. Mexican national Mr. Aguilar came to the United States when he was nine and is a self-taught computer coder (after having dropped out of college because he could not pay the out-of-state tuition). Mr. Tam and Mr. Mora are currently studying at UCLA. The team created the Push4Reform application.
The team’s Push4Reform application lets users who download the app log in with either their Facebook account or their zip code, enabling the app to retrieve the user’s Congressional representative based on residence information.
The app then provides the user with a summary of the user’s specific Congressional Representative’s positions on immigration reform as well as the representative’s voting record with regards to the DREAM Act, reform legislation, and other immigration-related bills. The app offers the user multiples venues to contact the representative such as a phone call, Twitter, or Facebook and if the user contacts the representative, the user receives a set amount of points that are tallied.
We enthusiastically applaud the efforts of Mark Zuckerberg, FWD.us and all the tech companies who participated in the Hackathon. These creative approaches to raising awareness and galvanizing the population to pushing immigration reform will hopefully go a long way in influencing Congress to pass comprehensive legislation. Keep checking our blog as we continue to provide up-to-date immigration coverage.
Additional Blog Posts
What Employers Should Know About Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, ImmigRantings, November 28, 2012
New Jersey is the Newest State to Offer In-State Tuition to Undocumented Students, ImmigRantings, January 23, 2014