Immigration | Jose Antonio Vargas | News

Gay Pulitzer Prize-Winning Reporter Jose Antonio Vargas Comes Out as 'Undocumented Immigrant'

Jose Antonio Vargas, a gay journalist who won a Pulitzer Prize for his coverage of the Virginia Tech shootings in the Washington Post, has written a stunning piece for the NYT in which he comes out as an "undocumented immigrant."

Vargas Writes Vargas:

I’m done running. I’m exhausted. I don’t want that life anymore.

So I’ve decided to come forward, own up to what I’ve done, and tell my story to the best of my recollection. I’ve reached out to former bosses  and employers and apologized for misleading them — a mix of humiliation and liberation coming with each disclosure. All the people mentioned in this article gave me permission to use their names. I’ve also talked to family and friends about my situation and am working with legal counsel to review my options. I don’t know what the consequences will be of telling my story.

Part of the piece discusses his other coming out:

Later that school year, my history class watched a documentary on Harvey Milk, the openly gay San Francisco city official who was assassinated. This was 1999, just six months after Matthew Shepard’s body was found tied to a fence in Wyoming. During the discussion, I raised my hand and said something like: “I’m sorry Harvey Milk got killed for being gay. . . . I’ve been meaning to say this. . . . I’m gay.”

I hadn’t planned on coming out that morning, though I had known that I was gay for several years. With that announcement, I became the only openly gay student at school, and it caused turmoil with my grandparents. Lolo kicked me out of the house for a few weeks. Though we eventually reconciled, I had disappointed him on two fronts. First, as a Catholic, he considered homosexuality a sin and was embarrassed about having “ang apo na bakla” (“a grandson who is gay”). Even worse, I was making matters more difficult for myself, he said. I needed to marry an American woman in order to gain a green card.

Tough as it was, coming out about being gay seemed less daunting than coming out about my legal status. I kept my other secret mostly hidden.

Read the whole thing here.

My Life as an Undocumented Immigrant [nyt]

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  1. He was brought to the US as a child and discovered his status later. Now there is no "right way" for him to immigrate or legalize his status—no line to get in or test to take.

    Posted by: Neil | Jun 22, 2011 11:11:10 PM

  2. Jeremy:

    How he feels about me, or conservative causes, is irrelevant. Yes, of course I would feel the same way I do if the circumstances were the same but he had turned out to be Rush Limbaugh or some Go Proud type.

    And what you feel is a reasonable punishment is also irrelevant, unless you are a majority of supreme court justices and can change the law? It's great that you would only going to exact prison time or military service, but you may not get to weigh in.

    That you can read Vargas' account of how he came to this point and be this judgmental blows my mind. Can't imagine the kind of integrity with which a person like you must live his or her life. Good for you.

    Posted by: MammaBear | Jun 23, 2011 10:16:16 AM

  3. You can say whatever you want to make yourself feel good but that still does not excuse the fact that he broke the law. Or is it that you don't care about American law? Are you in the group of American students and individuals lagging in history and civics? 
    He knowingly took forged documents to companies, such as the Washington Post, Huffington Post, etc, and now exposed them to investigation, along with individuals who he had friendships/relationships with.  Do you realize that this man has been in White House for social events? Do you know how this makes the security team look? So for you consider all that as irrelevant is quite shocking.

    Posted by: Jeremy | Jun 23, 2011 11:08:02 AM

  4. Jeremy, nothing about this makes me feel good. Not Vargas getting punished for being in a totally no win situation from the time he was 12, not you and Brian and many, many angry others thinking he's somehow typical of the what is dragging America down. That's all.

    Posted by: MammaBear | Jun 23, 2011 7:52:52 PM

  5. I agree with one of the previous posters. If this guy was a conservative who worked for Focus On The Family, or any other right-wing group people would be screaming to have his ass deported and to follow the law. Today NY is voting to enact a "LAW" that grants marriage rights to gays and lesbians. I expect that if passed all of us, including employers, renters, the government, etc., will be expected to follow and obey those laws. You just can't pick and choose which laws we enforce, but in this case our political officials have kicked this can way to far down the road and enough is enough.

    Posted by: Terry | Jun 24, 2011 8:40:28 PM

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