Photo: Award-winning journalist and undocumented immigrant Jose Vargas starts "Define American"
Pulitzer prize-winning writer Jose Vargas made headlines when he revealed he was living in the United States as an undocumented immigrant. Now, he’s standing up for immigration reform and openly campaigning to see it happen with a new organization.
When he was 12, Vargas was brought to and raised in the U.S. He went on to work for The San Francisco Chronicle, The Philadelphia Daily News, The Washington Post, The Huffington Post and The New York Times. In June 2008, he was a member of the Washington Post team that won the Pulitzer Prize for Breaking News Reporting for their coverage of the Virginia Tech shootings.
Recently, in a New York Times Sunday Magazine article, Vargas wrote a very personal piece revealing his “illegal” status and sharing his life as an undocumented immigrant.
Vargas became a notable name among the estimated 11 million undocumented workers in the United States, and is now using that notoriety to speak out for immigration reform and pushing for the passing of the DREAM Act by setting up Define American, an organization to fight prejudice against the people that make up the those labeled “illegal immigrants.”
Many campaigners support what Define American stands for, like Tyler Moran, policy director of the National Immigration Law Centre, who told The Guardian, “Jose is just one of many people who were brought here as children and who now want to legalize their status. He puts a face on a story and counters some of the ugly arguments made by anti-immigrant groups.”
On the front page of the Define American website, visitors are greeted with a video of Jose’s story, accompanied by the article he wrote for The New York Times, and the words “Define American: It’s Time to Have a Real Conversation About Immigration in Our Country.”