The immigration overhaul pending before Congress is picking up more high-profile support as Apple co-founder Steve Jobs' widow, Laurene Powell Jobs, bankrolls a new documentary to promote the effort, directed by Academy Award-winner Davis Guggenheim.
Guggenheim directed Al Gore's film on global warming, "An Inconvenient Truth," and 2010's "Waiting for Superman," on the wretched state of the nation's public schools.
His new effort, "The Dream is Now," tells the stories of immigrant youths here illegally who are eager to succeed in America but can't because they lack legal status.
Jose is trained as a mechanical engineer, but working as a construction laborer because he can't get a job in his chosen profession.
Ola hopes to become a surgical oncologist, but fears deportation even as she pursues her studies.
The 30-minute film was screened at the Capitol for members of the House and Senate earlier this week and it will be shown on college campuses and elsewhere in coming weeks.
"My hope is that people will watch this film, it'll open their minds about what's really at stake in immigration reform," Guggenheim said in an interview with The Associated Press. "You see firsthand what happens if we don't fix this broken system we have."
Laurene Powell Jobs chairs Emerson Collective, a nonprofit that supports education reform and other efforts. Through her work in education she encountered youths here illegally who couldn't advance because of their status, and became interested in their stories, Guggenheim said.
The youths in the film would benefit from legislation called the DREAM Act because it would allow citizenship to people brought here in their youths who fulfill certain requirements. Congress has tried but failed to pass that measure but it's expected to be incorporated in a comprehensive immigration overhaul bill to be released next week by bipartisan Senate negotiators.