‘Dreamers’ to code alongside Mark Zuckerberg in Fwd.us hackathon

Source: LA Times (latimes.com)

By Jessica GuynnOctober 18, 2013, 12:32 p.m.

 SAN FRANCISCO — Mark Zuckerberg‘s immigration advocacy group Fwd.us is planning to hold a hackathon next month for young undocumented immigrants as it tries to refocus attention on immigration reform.

Famous coders including the Facebook chief executive and Dropbox’s Drew Houston will team with those who came to the U.S. as children, often referred to as “Dreamers,” to build tools that address “the problems within our immigration system,” according to Fwd.us President Joe Green. Fwd.us will then work with the teams to get the projects up and running.

The event is designed to swivel the spotlight to Zuckerberg’s call for a comprehensive overhaul of the nation’s immigration policies as well as loosening restrictions on visas for skilled workers such as engineers and scientists.

“There’s been a lot of delay and too little action coming from Washington this month. We hope that momentum coming from our hackathon — and the technology it creates — can help move immigration reform forward,” Green said.

Zuckerberg visited Capitol Hill last month to press members of Congress in private meetings to support an immigration overhaul. The legislation has stalled in the GOP-led house months after the Senate passed a bill that eventually would grant citizenship to millions of undocumented immigrants.

Zuckerberg wrote in an op-ed in the Washington Post in April that he was inspired to launch Fwd.us after teaching a class on entrepreneurship in an after-school program.

“One day I asked my students what they thought about going to college. One of my top aspiring entrepreneurs told me he wasn’t sure that he’d be able to go to college because he’s undocumented. His family is from Mexico, and they moved here when he was a baby. Many students in my community are in the same situation; they moved to the United States so early in their lives that they have no memories of living anywhere else,” Zuckerberg wrote. “These students are smart and hardworking, and they should be part of our future.”

The hackathon will take place on Nov. 21 and 22 and is being hosted at LinkedIn’s headquarters in Mountain View, Calif., by LinkedIn founder and venture capitalist Reid Hoffman.

Fwd.us is taking applications at fwd.us/hackathon.


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