What’s it like to go to school in America, to work at the Washington Post, and still be an undocumented immigrant?
Jose Antonio Vargas came to the United States when he was 12 years old. That was in 1993. His Grandfather paid for his trip, essentially having someone smuggle Vargas to the United States. Years later, Vargas came out and openly admitted he was a homosexual. That wasn’t the biggest secret he was carrying. When he approached the Department of Motor vehicles on his 16th birthday, he was rejected for carrying a fake green card. So he asked his grandfather, if it was true? Yes, it was.
Since then he has lived in fear. Vargas couldn’t travel outside the U.S. He couldn’t take all expense paid trips. He took risks applying for scholarships, and work. He paid his taxes, and did what citizens normally did. He did so, constantly fearing to get caught.
Jose Antonio Vargas worked recently for the Huffington Post. His documentary series on HIV/AIDS was turned into a documentary film called, “The Other City”. The film opened at the Tribeca Film Festival in 2010. It was broadcast on Showtime. Vargas has landed a writing assignment to profile Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg for The New Yorker. Oh, and Mr. Vargas shared a Pulitzer Prize for coverage of the Virginia Tech shootings.
All throughout the years, Mr. Vargas credits his support system of family and friends the have helped him to get this far.
On 22 June 2011, The New York Times Magazine published, “My Life as an Undocumented Immigrant“, and Mr. Vargas admitted he didn’t know what consequences would transpire with his revelation. Eighteen years after he has last seen his mother, Jose Antonio Vargas has decided to come out and own up to his immigrant status. He reached out to former bosses, and employers and apologized for misleading them. Vargas said it was “a mix of humiliation and liberation”. Vargas has talked with his friends and family, and is working with legal counsel with regard to his situation.
hat tip: @pedropizano and @thegreatest
Photo credit: The New York Times