News

Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist outs himself as an illegal immigrant

Pin it

Jose Antonio Vargas

Even though he may face deportation as result, Pulitzer Prize-winning Washington Post journalist Jose Antonio Vargas has come forward as an illegal immigrant in order to help push along the DREAM Act, which would give immigrants (like Vargas) who either went to college or served in the military a path to legal citizenship.

Vargas, who earned the Pulitzer for his coverage of the Virginia Tech shootings, came to the U.S. from the Philippines when he was twelve-years old, and says that he didn't even realize he wasn't a legal citizen until he was sixteen and attempted to apply for a driver's license with a fake green card. Vargas also happens to be gay, and thus couldn't exactly marry a U.S. citizen as his parents had hoped when they sent him over to live with his grandparents, who are naturalized citizens.

Vargas managed to go to college on scholarship and launch a major journalism career with fake documents, and said of his experiences, "I was trying to stand out in a highly competitive newsroom, yet I was terrified that if I stood out too much, I’d invite unwanted scrutiny." At one point, he even had to use his fake driver's license to get into the White House for a state dinner.

It's entirely possible that Vargas could have to leave the country as a result of these revelations, so here's hoping his courageous move pays off not just for him but for others in a similar position who have less opportunity to make their stories public.