Laurene Powell Jobs is a powerful and influential participant in the debate over immigration reform. Perhaps more importantly, she has the attention of both Democrats and Republicans in Congress. Forbes magazine named her the 39th most powerful woman in the world in 2013. By 2014 she had jumped to 29th place in the rankings, and most of it had nothing to do with her $17 billion fortune.
It wasn’t always like this for Laurene. She values her privacy and that of her 3 children, and for many years her battles were fought in private. Eventually, as she stated in this video, she realized the limitations of working from behind the scenes, and she reluctantly stepped into the spotlight for the more altruistic goal of preserving America as the “land of opportunity” for thousands of eager young minds.
Laurene is a co-founder of College Track, an organization that is dedicated to providing economically disadvantaged children a chance to finish high school and attend college. The program has been incredibly successful, and has benefitted hundreds of children and young adults. High school graduates in the College Track program attend colleges at a rate of 90%, with a graduation rate of almost 70%. In contrast, the national average for graduation of first-generation college students is around 24%.
However, many of the program’s beneficiaries have come to a screeching halt in their quest for higher education, even after graduating high school. Most of them are undocumented immigrants and their children, who do not qualify for educational assistance due to their illegal status. Not being one to quit, Laurene took up the fight for immigration reform that would allow these bright, motivated young people to contribute to America’s greatness. She was an ardent supporter of the Dream Act, which would have granted legal status to the children of illegal immigrants who are attending high school, high school graduates, or those whose parents have served in the military. When congress struck down the Dream Act, Laurene Powell Jobs rolled up her sleeves and went to work.
She has already raised more than $6 million for a super Pac named Ready for Hillary, which supports Hillary Clinton for president in 2016. As the head of Emerson Collective, an LLC dedicated to social justice, Laurene promotes entrepreneurship as a tool for social reform, and she actively contributes to several Democratic campaigns.
Unlike the vast majority of political celebrities who see their station as a means to promote their own wealth and public image, Laurene apparently has no interest in the fringe benefits of public attention. For example, she recently agreed to an interview with the Wall Street Journal on the condition that the only topic during the interview would be immigration reform. She is a public figure not out of ego, but out of necessity, and that only adds to her credibility on the issue.
President Obama has taken executive action to delay the deportation of 5 million immigrants, and the GOP is livid over it. There is talk of a government shutdown staged by the GOP on December 11th if Republicans don’t get their way.
The debate over immigration reform is about to take center stage, and Laurene Powell Jobs will be there to defend those who have no voice.