Newsletter July 2011 – Journalist Jose Antonio Vargas

The Day Independence was Declared
U.S. Citizenship and the Oath of Allegiance This July 4th
The Bill of Rights, the First 10 Amendments of the U.S. Constitution
The Faces of US Immigrants: The Founding Fathers
Recipes From The Melting Pot: The Hamburger, An American July 4th Staple

Journalist Jose Antonio Vargas

On June 22, 2011, in an article in the New York Times Magazine, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, Jose Antonio Vargas, that his mother sent him to the United States from the Philippines when he was 12 but never joined him and found out later that he was an undocumented immigrant when someone at his local DMV told him his green card was fake.

He writes in the article:

Over the past 14 years, I’ve graduated from high school and college and built a career as a journalist, interviewing some of the most famous people in the country. On the surface, I’ve created a good life. I’ve lived the American dream.

But I am still an undocumented immigrant. And that means living a different kind of reality. It means going about my day in fear of being found out.”

Mr. Vargas represents the thousands of young Americans who have come to this country illegally because of their parents and most have known no other country except the United States. To them, it is their home, and that is why that the passage of the DREAM Act is so important.

Mr. Vargas recently started a website, Define American, that wants to engage people in having a real conversation about immigration and immigration reform. As for his future, it looks like deportation may not be in the cards.

In memorandums issued by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) director John Morton, the agency clarified that its focus will be on illegal immigrants that constitute “a clear risk to national security,” such as felons and repeat offenders and gang members. The memo also directs ICE officials to avoid proceedings against a wide array of individuals, including U.S. military veterans, minors and seniors, pregnant women, those who grew up in the U.S. and “long-time lawful permanent residents.”

This move is a welcoming and significant shift in U.S. policy towards these young, undocumented people, who, for most parts, have contributed positively to our society.

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