updated 10:52 pm EDT, Fri April 12, 2013
Focused on Dream Act, but called Jobs' contributions 'pretty cool'
Laurene Powell Jobs, the widow of Apple co-founder Steve Jobs, spoke briefly about her late husband at the beginning of an interview with NBC anchor Brian Williams which was primarily focused on her support of the Dream Act. She had mentioned prior to the interview, which aired Friday night on Rock Center, that she would not discuss the death of the former Apple CEO, now or in the future; however, she commented on his legacy and how the ongoing contributions Jobs made to technology comfort her and her family.
When asked by Williams about Jobs' legacy, she said that while the goal in his life was to enable people to "work at the highest level" through innovations and popularization of existing technology, his real legacy was that others should pursue their own passions with the same vigor and energy -- helping the world become a better place. Her mention of this seemingly inferred that her becoming a more public figure after being a long-time but more private advocate for immigration and education issues was an example of putting Steve's beliefs into practice.
She said that Jobs had two legacies, the public and private one. His public history of bringing innovative, high-quality products to market, she said, was "a beautiful thing" -- but his private legacy "with me and the kids is that of husband and father, and we miss him every day."
She was asked also how she feels when she sees pedestrians walking down city streets "with the one thing they have in common ... those white earbuds," as Williams phrased it. Powell Jobs said that viewing the impact Apple's various inventions and re-inventions had had on the way the entire world works was "pretty cool" and kept his memory close at hand, which she described as comforting to her and their three children (along with step-daughter Lisa Brennan Jobs). Like Steve, Laurene has often characterized Apple's contribution not in terms of specific brands, but in how the overall success and inventiveness of the company has altered entire industries, workflows and lifestyles -- even among those who do not use Apple products.
The remainder of the interview was given over to Powell Jobs' advocacy of the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act, which provides a path to citizenship for the children of undocumented foreigners through a combination of civil service and financial or other penalties for the parents who entered the US illegally. She and filmmaker Davis Guggenheim have created a documentary, The Dream is Now, that tracks some of the children of illegal aliens, showing how their status blocks many of them from making bigger contributions to the US economy because of everyday barriers that keep them from fulfilling their potential, such as being unable to get drivers' licenses, enlist in the military or find higher-paying jobs.
Powell Jobs argues that America can't afford to ignore the benefits of letting the most qualified of these children become contributing citizens, a formerly-controversial position whose opposition has faded somewhat as US citizens learn more about the hardships and realities of life as an undocumented resident, and to what extent such workers make America's low-cost, high-benefit lifestyle possible.
The documentary emphasizes the benefits of educating and training would-be citizen young people to keep their knowledge and skills in the US rather than taking them back to their home countries. A new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll shows about two-thirds of Americans support providing undocumented immigrants with a path to American citizenship.
Powell Jobs and Guggenheim also acknowledged some of the objections Americans have to parts of the plan, such as agreeing with opponents that businesses must be discouraged from hiring undocumented workers, incentivizing immigrants to follow a more legal path into the US and hopefully stemming the tide of undocumented workers -- an approach Canada and other countries have used to great succcess. As befits her previous causes and involvements, Powell Jobs views the immigration issue -- both its reform and the path to gaining acceptance of reform proposals -- primarily as an issue of education and utilization of people's potential.