If you follow the immigration debate closely, today’s Immigrant of the Day needs no introduction. Jose Antonio Vargas is the Filipino-native who came to America as a child and went on to become a Pulitzer-prize winning journalist for the Washington Post. He’s also reported for the San Francisco Chronicle, the Philadelphia Daily News and Huffington Post.
Jose’s life took a major turn in 2011 when he outed himself as undocumented in an essay he wrote for the New York Times Magazine. And in the years since, he has become one of the country’s best known immigration activists. He has testified in Congress and made numerous television appearances to talk about immigration reform. He is a founder of Define American, a non-profit organization that describes itself as “a media and culture campaign using the power of story to transcend politics and shift conversation around immigration, identity, and citizenship in America.” And he has made the superb film Documented which tells his story of coming out as illegal (which he describes as more difficult than coming out as gay).
Jose made headlines this week when he joined ten other undocumented immigrants in applying for Deferred Action. Jose is not eligible for the DACA program because of his age and he and the others applying this week want to point out that many deserving people have been left behind. They are often those who came to the US as young children and who are ineligible for DACA simply because they’ve been here TOO long and are no longer young enough to meet DACA’s age restrictions.
As the President readies his executive action, hopefully he will remember people like Jose and finally do right by these deserving individuals. Jose has already made great contributions to this nation – more so than the hateful people who regularly tell him to leave the only country he knows.