Laurene Powell Jobs, the widow of Apple Inc. co-founder Steve Jobs, urged U.S. lawmakers to pass the Dream Act, an immigration reform bill that cleared the House and died in the Senate in 2010.
Jobs, in what NBC said is her first televised interview since her husband’s death in 2011, said failing to provide a path to legal status for younger undocumented immigrants in the U.S. is a waste of “human capital.”
“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 we developed geared towards improving our entire society,” she said in an interview on NBC’s “Rock Center with Brian Williams,” broadcast yesterday. “We need all of these brains.”
While Jobs stipulated the interview not touch on her husband’s death, she briefly referred to the impact he had on the world, saying the popularity of Apple’s products is a “beautiful reminder” of him for her family.
“Steve has a public legacy and a private legacy. In the public, we see the products that he created that he cared so deeply about -- that changed all of our lives, the way that we function and communicate.
‘‘What he wanted to do in his life was create tools that allowed people to work at the highest levels, and I think he did that. And so that legacy is beautiful for me to live with,’’ Jobs said. ‘‘His private legacy with me and the kids is that of husband and father, and we miss him every day.’’
Williams said Jobs stipulated before the interview that they not discuss her husband’s death because it’s private. The interview focused on her efforts lobbying Congress to overhaul of the U.S. immigration system. She wants children who were brought to the U.S. at a young age illegally by their parents to be able to become citizens.
‘‘These are kids who are brought to this country as youngsters, who are raised as Americans, who go to American schools,” said Jobs, who has worked in education for about 15 years. “And when they graduate high school, they have no prospects in front of them because they’re undocumented.”
A bipartisan group of senators is putting the finishing touches on legislation to legalize 11 million undocumented immigrants in the U.S. and revamp immigration laws. They have set a self-imposed deadline to unveil the bill by the end of the week.
President Barack Obama initiated a deferred deportation program last year that would allow children of undocumented immigrants who were brought to the U.S. before age 16 to remain in the country if they have no criminal record and meet other standards.
There’s growing support in Silicon Valley for changes to U.S. immigration policy. This month, Facebook Inc. Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg announced the creation of an advocacy group called Fwd.us to lobby for a revamp of immigration policies.
Fwd.us. is backed by technology entrepreneurs and investors, including John Doerr at venture-capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and LinkedIn Corp. Chairman Reid Hoffman, according to the group’s site.
The Dream Act passed the House when it was controlled by Democrats.