A Pulitzer-prize winning reporter has announced that he has been living in the US as an undocumented worker since immigrating to California when he was 12, according to multiple reports.
Jose Antonio Vargas, a native of the Philippines, officially announced his immigration status in an article he penned for the New York Times Magazine. Vargas, 30, who has written for publications such as the Washington Post, San Francisco Chronicle and the Huffington Post through his successful journalism career, stated that he decided to reveal his long-held secret in order to call attention to the nation’s immigration reform debate and lend support to the DREAM Act.
“Last year I read about four students who walked from Miami to Washington to lobby for the DREAM Act,” he wrote. “Their courage has inspired me.”
The nearly-decade old immigration bill would provide a path to legal permanent residency and eventually citizenship for the children of undocumented workers who have been educated in the US.
Vargas reportedly took great pains to hide his illegal status after discovering he had a fake green card at age 16. Since then, he has carefully avoided scrutiny on his residency status with the help of family, well-connected friends and his own creativity.
Vargas shared a Pulitzer Prize with his colleagues at the Washington Post for the newspaper’s coverage of the Virginia Tech shootings the year before. He has started a new organization called Define American to encourage passage of the DREAM Act and educate Americans on the different faces of undocumented workers in their midst.