My Life as an Undocumented Immigrant

From the Washington Post Ombudsman on why they didn’t use Vargas’ confession story:

(Jose Antonio Vargas is a former reporter for The Washington Post and shared a Pulitzer Prize for coverage of the Virginia Tech shootings. He founded Define American, which seeks to change the conversation on immigration reform.)

By Jose Antonio Vargas
New York Times

Vargas: living with a lie in a profession of truth-telling

One August morning nearly two decades ago, my mother woke me and put me in a cab. She handed me a jacket. “Baka malamig doon” were among the few words she said. (“It might be cold there.”) When I arrived at the Philippines’ Ninoy Aquino International Airport with her, my aunt and a family friend, I was introduced to a man I’d never seen. They told me he was my uncle. He held my hand as I boarded an airplane for the first time. It was 1993, and I was 12.

My mother wanted to give me a better life, so she sent me thousands of miles away to live with her parents in America — my grandfather (Lolo in Tagalog) and grandmother (Lola).

After I arrived in Mountain View, Calif., in the San Francisco Bay Area, I entered sixth grade and quickly grew to love my new home, family and culture. I discovered a passion for language, though it was hard to learn the difference between formal English and American slang. One of my early memories is of a freckled kid in middle school asking me, “What’s up?” I replied, “The sky,” and he and a couple of other kids laughed. I won the eighth-grade spelling bee by memorizing words I couldn’t properly pronounce. (The winning word was “indefatigable.”)

Click here for the rest of the story.

June 23, 2011 5:18 pm  Tags:   Posted in: General, Human Rights, Media

7 Responses

  1. joeseg - June 23, 2011 9:07 pm

    Pampelikula ang kwento ng buhay ni Jose Antonio Vargas. Kanya-kanya na ng opinyon tungkol sa kung ano ang kanyang kahihinatnan, mananatili ba sa America o pauuwiin sa Pinas…

    Interestingly, this article says Jose Antonio Vargas is an American hero:

  2. Ellen - June 24, 2011 12:02 am

    He is a very good writer.

    I’m wondering what would have happened if he followed the advice pf his lawyer to go back to the Philippines and then go back to the U.S. legally.

    Given his talent and skill, would he have also made good career-wise?

  3. Ellen - June 24, 2011 12:04 am

    From what I can glean from the article, he thinks of himself as American. He does not show affinity to the Philippines.

  4. joeseg - June 24, 2011 3:26 am

    Jose Antonio Vargas revelation is about his being TNT and Gay.

    Tiyak na susubaybayan ang kwento ni Vargas. I suspect Jessica Soho is already mulling to feature him in her TV show. I think will be sent back to the Philippines because he broke a US law but re-apply as immigrant with exceptional talent as a writer. Ang problema lang, maghihintay nga lang siya nang matagal. Dahil wala na siyang amor sa Pinas, baka sa ibang bansa na rin siya manirahan at magtrabaho.

  5. norpil - June 24, 2011 4:31 pm

    jose’s story has a similar story here in norway. a russian girl went underground and finished her university studies here but later could not live with the lie and came out. she was sent back to russia but lived in poland for half a year and then came back legally here. 10 years is a long time to wait and a lot can happen within that the time he can go back he will be 40 and may not fit again in the american life he left.this shows how american justice sometimes is inhuman.children should not pay for the crimes of their parents and relatives.he is still attached to pinas and can fit easily, depending on how pinas is now when it comes to gays.

  6. saxnviolins - June 24, 2011 6:25 pm

    He needs a good immigration lawyer.

    He was given a fake passport when he was 12. You cannot impute the fraudulent acts of adults on a minor. Kahit pumatay yan at 12 walang parusa, dahil menor de edad. So lalong may patawad kung immigration violation lang.

    He could get a waiver for entry fraud. The law specifically allows that.

    He can actually petition for himself, under the EB1 category, for individuals with exceptional abilities. One with a Pulitzer Prize, certainly falls under that category. Sama mo na riyan si Pacquiao, or Charisse Pempengco. One does not need international fame, only domestic fame. With more reason, kapag may US fame na.

    After he petitions himself, then he can apply for a waiver.

    Better to move to New Jersey than to stay in California, because the precedents there are more liberal than California, despite California’s supposed liberal reputation. Another good place is Seattle. Washington State’s Circuit Court (Tenth) is more liberal than the Ninth.

  7. saxnviolins - June 24, 2011 10:57 pm

    Sorry. Ninth din pala ang Washington State. Tenth Circuit covers New Mexico, Wyoming, Oklahoma, Kansas and Colorado.

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