By Umesh Vaidyamath
I came to the United States in 1990. I was a dreamer and was lucky to have an H-1B immigration status, unlike Obama’s DREAMers of today.
I was sponsored for my H1-B and then my Green Card by the Fortune 100 company I worked for. I still remember how the company’s HR department had no clue about the seriousness or complexity of the immigration process. For them, it was just another set of paperwork. They empowered me to take care of my own immigration needs. They gave me a budget. I chose my own attorney and, with him, managed my own immigration process. It took me 18 months to get my Green Card.
But oh the times have changed. Today, many HR departments get it. The U.S. government as well as advocacy groups like the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) and the American Council of International Professionals (ACIP) have done a tremendous job of educating the industry of the need and the complexity of immigration.
Just as important is the support and advocacy from leaders from companies like Facebook, LinkedIn, Dropbox and Microsoft. If you haven’t yet heard of it, take a few moments to learn more about FWD.us. They are an organization started by key leaders including Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates and Reid Hoffman and they want to make immigration reform real.
FWD.us is conducting a “Hackathon” on November 21 and 22, in which DREAMer engineers and product designers and their mentors will code for 24 hours straight at LinkedIn’s headquarters.
I would like to personally congratulate all of the selected DREAMers and wish them the best of luck during the Hackathon and in their future careers and lives. Godspeed to all of you and kudos to Mark Zuckerberg and the entire FWD.us team for this great initiative.
DREAMers selected for DREAMers hackathon
Luis Aguilar, 25, Falls Church, VA
Gerardo Alvarado, 25, Milwaukee, WI
Isabel Bahena, 23, San Leandro, CA
Sarahi Espinoza, 23, East Palo Alto, CA
Roly Fentantes, 25, New York, NY
Erick Garcia, 27, Mesa, AZ
Jay Hu, 23, New York, NY
Henry Lopez, 19, Falls Church, VA
Rocio Lopez, 24, Mountain View, CA
Celso Mireles, 26, Phoenix, AZ
Justino Mora, 24, Los Angeles, CA
Erick Orellana, 20, Patchogue, NY
Edson Sierra, 20, Charlotte, NC
Kent Tam, 24, Los Angeles, CA
Dayana Torres, 19, Fairfax, VA
Edgar Torres, 26, Oceanside, CA
Jorge Torres, 27, Oceanside, CA
Carlos Vargas, 28, New York, NY