A DREAMer Hackathon for Immigration Reform

Posted by on October 18, 2013.

Today, I’m very excited to announce the latest project from FWD.us in our effort to pass comprehensive immigration reform—one that combines the creative thinking of our immigrant community with the collaborative spirit of the tech community. On November 20th and November 21st, FWD.us will be hosting a DREAMer Hackathon to develop new ways to advocate for needed solutions to the problems within our immigration system.

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Members of the tech community are keenly aware of the critical contributions immigrants—and particularly DREAMers—are already making to our economy and our country. This Hackathon is a way to make those contributions more tangible by connecting DREAMers – undocumented immigrants who arrived in the United States as children – with some of the most innovative product design and engineering talent in Silicon Valley. Working side-by-side, they will build tools to advance our advocacy efforts, creating projects and applications to help supporters share stories, contact members of Congress, and show family and friends why they supporting meaningful immigration reform.

Only with comprehensive immigration reform will our participants and their families be able to work and reside permanently in the United States without fear of deportation. We hope the Hackathon sheds light on just a small fraction of the many talents of the undocumented immigrant community, and how our broken immigration system prevents 11 million people from realizing their full potential.

Hackathons are a central part of many of our founders’ companies and of the culture of Silicon Valley as a whole. We’re thrilled that some of the top product innovators of our time – like Reid Hoffman, Drew Houston, Andrew Mason and Mark Zuckerberg – will be working side-by-side with DREAMers to advise them throughout the Hackathon. Each team will consist of DREAMers paired up with “mentors,” designers and programmers from some of the top tech companies. FWD.us founders will circulate among the teams, providing advice and feedback. After more than a day (and night) of working, we will have a prototype forum where some of our founders will give feedback. We will then pick the most innovative prototypes and ideas; FWD.us and our supporters will work with the teams to get their projects launched as part of our continuing efforts to help pass comprehensive reform.

We’re grateful to LinkedIn and its founder Reid Hoffman for hosting us. Here’s how Reid explained his involvement in this event: “As a proud supporter of comprehensive immigration reform, I'm looking forward to mentoring the DREAMers at next month's event. The bright minds who will build tomorrow's economy are already contributing to their communities today. This Hackathon will help highlight their incredible promise — and remind us why the greater tech community must work together to help pass meaningful, comprehensive immigration reform.” We are currently taking applications for interested DREAMers and mentors with a product design or coding background: fwd.us/hackathon. We have limited space available, so if you’re not one of the selected applicants, we hope you’ll join FWD.us and keep working with us as we put these technologies to use. 

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 and fix our broken system once and for all.

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