Filipino Pulitzer Winner Is Undocumented

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NEW YORK- Award-winning multimedia Filipino journalist, Jose Antonio Vargas announced his undocumented status in an article he wrote for the New York Times Wednesday.

In the online article titled “Life as an Undocumented Immigrant,” Vargas told his story about growing up in California as an immigrant and his teenage revelation of his immigration status. “My story does not exist in a vacuum, I am only one of the countless undocumented immigrants from all walks of life who live in the shadow of our failed and broken system.”

Vargas has written for the Huffington Post, the San Francisco Chronicle and the Washington Post, where he shared a Pulitzer Prize in 2008 for his coverage of the Virginia Tech shootings. He has also reported for Balitang America.

The 30-year-old Vargas admitted in the article that he came to the United States in 1993 using a fake passport when he was 12. Later on, his grandfather obtained a fake green card for Vargas. Then Vargas was able to obtain a real driver’s license, and later used used his fake documents to get a job.

Vargas said in the article that he decided to come forward and take responsibility for his actions even at the risk of deportation to speak out and tell his story – just like the courageous “dreamers” – undocumented high school and college students who could benefit through the passage of the “Dream Act.”

In a press statement sent to Balitang America by “Define American,” an organization dedicated to changing the conversation about immigrants in America founded by Vargas himself, he said that he hopes that his story is the beginning of a conversation about immigration and that Define American will build off of his story to spur others to share their own backgrounds to encourage members of Congress and the Obama administration to prioritize immigration reform.