Thursday, July 28, 2011

Jose Antonio Vargas: Redefining "American"

The issue of illegal immigration has always been included in a public official’s priority list. Jose Antonio Vargas’ case is no different from other undocumented people trying to push the economic edges in the United States. 

What seems to highlight the disparity is the fact that Vargas has already established a reputation as an award-winning, serious journalist (Pulitzer) serving the American people prior to his admission.

As expected, many are now questioning the real intentions of Vargas in flirting himself nearer to the fire, as the commitment to do such, requires tremendous exercise of will to face and accept possible repercussions. One unifying reaction is that Vargas has served as a strong addition to the already overwhelming and swelling chorus of illegal immigrants, who though working hard have been denied of green cards/ permanent resident card and/or work authorizations.
Meanwhile, some say Vargas’ intention is questionable thinking he might have to risk a lot from his burgeoning career in the U.S. over his crusade to help illegal immigrants. An extreme critic may think Vargas is supported by the U.S. immigration as an instrument to locate and identify other illegal immigrants — thus, an easy way to catch them.
Though, the probability of this being true is quite insignificant since illegal immigrants have already thought of sets of clever actions to secure and safeguard their identities.
He writes:
One day when I was 16, I rode my bike to the nearby D.M.V. office to get my driver’s permit. Some of my friends already had their licenses, so I figured it was time. But when I handed the clerk my green card as proof of U.S. residency, she flipped it around, examining it. “This is fake,” she whispered. “Don’t come back here again. (Outlaw: My Life as an Undocumented Immigrant, Jose Antonio Vargas, published June 22, 2011, The New York Times)
A keen observer asks how he was able to establish his personality as a journalist to some of the largest mainstream press organizations in the U.S., without getting verified of his illegal status. One even asks, “whose social security ID did he use for a long time?”
Currently, Vargas is collating signatures for his petition designed to advance the passing of the DREAM act and to bring the discussion on illegal immigrants in a much compelling level than ever before.
Vargas defines an “American” as, “a person who is hardworking, proud to be in America, and contributes to society.” Vargas is a true-blooded Filipino who considers himself an “American.”
The video above can also be seen at, an initiative whose campaign is to “bring new voices into the immigration conversation, shining a light on a growing 21st century Underground Railroad: American citizens who are forced to fill in where our broken immigration system fails.”

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