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Laurene Powell Jobs, Immigrant Activist


Laurene Powell Jobs, Immigrant Activist

Steve and Laurene Jobs.

Alexandra Wyman/Getty Images

A Champion for Young Immigrants:

Since her husband Steve Jobs' death in 2011, Laurene Powell Jobs has taken a much more public role in the debate over comprehensive immigration reform and become an influential advocate, especially in the cause of promoting passage of the DREAM Act.

In 2012, she partnered with filmmaker Davis Guggenheim to produce The Dream is Now, a documentary that tells the stories of young immigrants who would benefit from DREAM Act legislation.

Education at Wharton School and Stanford University:

Powell Jobs was born on Nov. 6, 1963, the daughter of a U.S. Marine and a teacher, and grew up in West Milford, N.J. She earned a bachelor's degree from the University of Pennsylvania, and in 1985, and a bachelor's of science from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.

She went on to earn a master's from the Stanford Graduate School of Business in 1991. After college, Powell Jobs worked as a investment trader for Merrill Lynch Asset Management. She worked for three years at Goldman Sachs in fixed income investment. In 1992, she co-founded TerraVera Natural Foods, an organic food wholesaler in San Francisco.

Marries Steve Jobs at Yosemite National Park:

She married Apple Inc. computer founder Steve Jobs on March 18, 1991 in Yosemite National Park in a ceremony that was presided over by a Zen Buddhist monk. The couple has three children. Her stock holdings in Apple and The Walt Disney Company make her one of the richest women in the United States with an estimated worth of more than $10 billion.

Powell Jobs has become one of Silicon Valley's most energetic philanthropists, supporting education, human rights, the arts and environmental issues. Her interest in young students led her to co-found College Track with Carlos Watson, a non-profit group in East Palo Alto, Calif., which works to improve high school graduation rates and college enrollment.

Advocacy for Immigration Reform and the DREAM Act:

Her work with College Track became a logical transition into advocacy for the DREAM Act and the self-described DREAMers who would benefit from the legislation. “Year after year we saw potential wasted,” she has said of young immigrants without legal status who cannot continue their education.

In 2003, she founded Emerson Collective, another non-profit organization, which works to promote immigration reform and “advocate for fair and just policies on behalf of under-served students,” according to its website.

Powell Jobs has become an outspoken supporter of comprehensive immigration reform and the efforts of the Senate's Gang of Eight in 2013. She has urged Congress to pass “common-sense immigration reform” that would bring legal status to the 11 million unauthorized immigrants living in the country.

She has paid for polling and lobbying to try to persuade lawmakers in both parties to pass the comprehensive reform bill. She has promoted her DREAM Act documentary with a website and public appearances, moving from the background and into the spotlight after her husband's death.

“I started getting more and more active around immigration reform because this was such a waste of lives, such a waste of potential, such a waste for our country not to have the human capital that we developed – geared towards improving our entire society,” said Powell Jobs in an exclusive interview with Rock Center Anchor Brian Williams airing Friday, April 12 at 10pm/9CDT on NBC.

She said she hopes that the people who see the 30-minute documentary will “see the human lives that are at stake.”

"My hope is that people will watch this film, it'll open their minds about what's really at stake in immigration reform," Guggenheim, who directed Al Gore's An Inconvenient Truth, said in an interview with The Associated Press. "You see firsthand what happens if we don't fix this broken system we have."

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