Quantcast
Latest Stories

Jose Antonio Vargas: Pulitzer awardee and illegal alien

By

MILPITAS, California—In a building that houses Seafood City, an Asian supermarket, and Goldilocks, Max Fried Chicken, Chow King, and Beard Papa, all food outlets catering mostly to Filipino-Americans, Jose Antonio Vargas faced a crowd composed largely of Filipinos along with a smattering of blacks and Latinos. Vargas hit the front pages and became a popular guest on the talk show circuit after he declared that he was in the US illegally.

Vargas was born in the Philippines and was sent by his mother to live with his grandparents in the US when he was just 12 without obtaining authorization for him to live in the country permanently. He did not know about his immigration status until 1997 when he applied for a California driver license and found out that the documents he submitted with his application were fraudulent, documents that had been provided to him by his family.

He kept his immigration status a secret with the help of friends and teachers, using false documents to continue his pursuit of higher education, and to live an un-extraordinary life and fit in as an ordinary citizen would in this, his adopted country. He found employment, and a career — working for such newspapers as the Philadelphia Daily News, The Washington Post, The Huffington Post, and the San Francisco Chronicle, and was part of a team that garnered the Pulitzer Prize for Breaking News Reporting in 2008.

In June last year, he wrote an essay that was published in The New York Times. In that essay, he declared that he was an undocumented immigrant. (He bristles at the term “illegal alien”, arguing that “there is no such thing as an illegal human being”.) He states that he revealed his undocumented status “to promote dialogue about what he feels is a broken immigration system.”

That afternoon, he was in Milpitas as the guest speaker in a town hall meeting organized by the National Federation of Filipino-American Associations, Region 8,  and to promote Vargas’s project called “Define American”, a multi-media campaign aimed at helping illegal aliens or, as Vargas prefers to them and to himself, undocumented immigrants, push for legitimization by challenging traditional definitions of what an American is and changing the conversation about immigration in America.

Among the notable guests at the meeting were Filipino Americans who had risen to high political positions in two Bay Area cities—the Honorable Jose Esteves, mayor of Milpitas, who also presented Vargas a recommendation, and the Honorable Pat Gacoscos, vice mayor of Union City.

Also in audience were students from the University of San Francisco, Napa Valley College up north, and even UC Davies from farther north. The proceedings was moderated by Ben Menor, Santa Clara Chairperson of Region 8 with Lorna Dietz, Chair of Region 8 moderating the media Q & A.


Follow Us


Follow us on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on Twitter


Recent Stories:

Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.

Tags: Filipino , Jose Antonio Vargas , Migration , United States , US

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_SHKBBO273I7GMSQTA4ZWLZCG3U Max

    After 9/11, entering the US is like entering the eye of a needle; those terrorists Muslims are the cause of these problems, by their heinous acts, law-abiding  Filipino Christian foreigners in US bears the brunt of their (Muslims) cruelty.



Copyright © 2014, .
To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.
Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:
c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94
Advertisement
Advertisement

News

  • Enrile chief aide back in PH ‘to face charges’–report
  • Pakistan library named ‘bin Laden,’ as memory fades
  • US teacher fired over comment on black president
  • Magnitude-7.5 earthquake shakes Mexican capital
  • Title of new Hillary Clinton book: ‘Hard Choices’
  • Sports

  • Motivated LeBron James preps for postseason
  • Nadal ousted by Ferrer in Monte Carlo quarters
  • Pacquiao shorts in Bradley fight sold for P1.7M in LA auction
  • Ryu pitches Dodgers past Giants
  • Alonso sets the pace in Chinese GP practice
  • Lifestyle

  • Levine designs womenswear with help from fiancee
  • Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Nobel laureate, dies at 87
  • Ford Mustang turns 50 atop Empire State Building
  • Pro visual artists, lensmen to judge Pagcor’s photo contest
  • ‘Labahita a la bacalao’
  • Entertainment

  • Myx TV premieres Asian American ‘docu-series’
  • A nutty finale for ‘Scandal,’ TV’s craziest show
  • EXO postpones release of mini album ‘Overdose’
  • ‘X-men’ filmmaker slams ‘fabricated’ sex attack claims
  • Singer Chris Brown’s bodyguard on trial in DC
  • Business

  • US commerce secretary spells out economic facet of ‘pivot to Asia’
  • Italy sells luxury state cars on eBay
  • Asian shares mostly up in quiet trade
  • Dollar up in Asia on US jobs data, Ukraine deal
  • Barbie doll has a problem
  • Technology

  • Nasa’s moon-orbiting robot crashes down
  • Netizens pay respects to Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  • Nokia recalls 30,000 chargers for Lumia 2520 tablet
  • Facebook rolls out ‘nearby friends’ feature
  • Netizens seethe over Aquino’s ‘sacrifice’ message
  • Opinion

  • Editorial cartoon, April 17, 2014
  • A humbler Church
  • Deepest darkness
  • ‘Agnihotra’ for Earth’s health
  • It’s the Holy Week, time to think of others
  • Global Nation

  • Multicultural flock marks Good Friday in San Francisco
  • Las Vegas ‘Pinoy Pride’ fest hails Filipino heritage
  • Marking Jesus’ journey on Good Friday
  • Filipina accomplice arrested for fake bills in Malaysia
  • DoH denies Filipino nurse no longer positive for MERS virus
  • Marketplace