Jose Antonio Vargas made a surprising confession in this week's New York Times magazine. The former Washington Post and Huffington Post reporter acknowledged that he is an undocumented immigrant.
Vargas said he was inspired by other undocumented immigrants who risked deportation by the Obama administration, so they could lobby for the DREAM Act, which provides a path to legal status for undocumented immigrants.
There are believed to be 11 million undocumented immigrants in the United States. We're not always who you think we are. Some pick your strawberries or care for your children. Some are in high school or college. And some, it turns out, write news articles you might read. I grew up here. This is my home. Yet even though I think of myself as an American and consider America my country, my country doesn't think of me as one of its own.
Vargas has set up a Web site and blog, which he says will offer the country a chance to have a real conversation about immigration.
Vargas detailed the way he obtained phony IDs to get -- and keep -- jobs in newsrooms. He recently got a new driver's license, but says he can't live in fear of being found out anymore.
So I've decided to come forward, own up to what I've done, and tell my story to the best of my recollection. I've reached out to former bosses and employers and apologized for misleading them -- a mix of humiliation and liberation coming with each disclosure. All the people mentioned in this article gave me permission to use their names. I've also talked to family and friends about my situation and am working with legal counsel to review my options. I don't know what the consequences will be of telling my story.
I do know that I am grateful to my grandparents, my Lolo and Lola, for giving me the chance for a better life. I'm also grateful to my other family -- the support network I found here in America -- for encouraging me to pursue my dreams.
Mark Memmott, at NPR's Two-Way blog, says Vargas' confession will also likely provoke an ethics debate among journalists. Is it appropriate for journalists, who are supposed to search for truth, should live a lie?
Along with how this story plays in the immigration debate, watch for a discussion among journalists about whether Vargas' actions over the years raise questions about his credibility as a reporter.
According to the Society of Professional Journalists' Code of Ethics, journalists should "abide by the same high standards to which they hold others."
In the meantime, the article also constitutes Vargas; challenge to the Obama administration to do something about him.
What a brave man.
I do not see how our country would be better suited by deporting Mr. Vargas than by granting him citizenship. My grandmother, a decedent of Mexican immigrants, once told me that a country who closes its borders to hungry seekers seizes to make progress, and Mr. Vargas' story illustrates this so well. If we are unwilling to accept people, tired and poor, who are willing sacrifice everything to find a country where a better life can be had, we miss an opportunity to enrich our society. Immigrants breath fresh life into society.
It is shameful that the hatred of the bigots and the greed of unions united with the pandering of politicians to give us this horrible immigration system. Restricting immigration increases costs, leads to offshoring, imprisons people for doing the morally correct thing, costs billions and tears apart families. Mr. Obama, tear down the wall between the US and Mexico!
The greed of unions? What does this have to do with unions? In 2009 the two biggest unions came out in favor of legalizing the undocumented. I don't think unions are the problem here.
The issue with unions is there desire to keep immigration artificialy low. Going back to the first quota in 1921 there has been strong union support of the quota system. New immigrants (legal or illegal) have been slower to organize or join unions and have in many cases replaced union labor (see Quality Pork in Austin...formerly P-9 Proud territory). Keeping the labor pool artifically low drives up demand - unions win. Same tactic as licensing, credentialing and other market interventions. I am all for collective bargaining and workers rights but to often unions resort to govt to advance their causes to the detriment of the rest of us.
Wow, matt, you are on a tear today: Ripping apart government services (which you made clear you very much benefit from in today's 5x8), and then by making a vast claim about everyone's favorite scapegoat: The unions. I know a handful of union organizers (some very much US citizens, some recent immigrants) who very specifically work to organize labor for those who work in the service industry-- a group that mostly is made up of minorities. They aren't helping them unionize for any reason other than to help these people fight for the rights that it would otherwise be so easy to deny them because of the color of their skin or the accent they have when they talk. The unions in these cases help these families earn a fair wage in reasonable conditions.
Now, you can have a reasonable discussion about if unions help or hurt (though I'm awfully biased--- I come from a looong line of union workers--and some of the HARDEST working people you would ever meet, btw), but don't throw out garbage lines like "unions hate immigrants".
We've always hated immigrants in this country. My grandmother is an immigrant, and so she's new enough to tell me stories of the horrible way she was treated when she moved here-and she was Canadian, for goodness sakes!
Since the 1950s, the unions have been pro-immigration and pro-immigrant. The "greedy union" you are talking about hasn't been around in 60 years.
I live in Southern California, 45 miles from the border with Mexico.
This year, there were more babies born to Latino mothers than caucasians. I would guess that the same is true in Arizona, New Mexico, Texas and Nevada.
None of these states could function without the presence of hispanics - documented or undocumented.
That said, the problems caused by illegal immigration are very real.
The schools and health care system in California have gone from first to worst largely due to providing unfunded services and having to accommodate a non-english speaking population.
The borders should be secured, and those who are here illegally should be treated compassionately and sanely, with a reasonable amnesty program.
Anyone who has committed a violent felony should be deported to a prison in their native country.
Finally, the 14th amendment should be rescinded, with those already here being grandfathered in.
It's original intent was to grant citizenship to the children of slaves.
It's continued existence is not only anachronistic, but results in a deadly game of whack-a-mole with poor, pregnant women risking their lives through deserts of hot sun and human traffickers, in order to give their unborn children a now equally-anachronistic american dream.
This article suggests that we are both correct with the trend leaning towards your position. I would argue however that current state of immigration quotas and policy is based on the historical impacts of unions. I do feel it is, as vjacobsen suggests, more of a xenophobic problem than Labor created issue (Gompers of course would disagree).