Tag Archives: immigratoion

The Jose Antonio Vargas’ story

Joaquin Tenedora-Forte 
         What would you do if your only option is to send your son to lived with your parents in the United States, will you send him. Knowing that he will be illegal. What would you do if a human smuggler came into you’re house and said to you, he is taking your son to America. Knowing that it will be harder for him there, will you still let him go. These are the question that Emily Salinas ask her self when he put his son Jose in the cab on August 2, 1993. Jose Antonio Vargas landed at the Los Angeles international Airpot on August 3rd, it was the start of a very interesting life.

       Jose Antonio Vargas was born in Manila Philippines to young parents Joselito Vargas and Emily Salinas on 3rd February 1981. At aged 3, he’s mom separated with his father, and brought Pepeton ( how he called at home), Jose lived with his grandparents in Iba in the province of Zambales, in 1984, his grandparents left for the United States, Jose was crying but his grandma reassured him that he and his mom is coming to America. But there is a problem. because there is no divorce in the Philippines even if Jose’s parents separated, his mom couldn’t come via a family petition because permanent residence parents couldn’t petition married children, grandparents could not petition their grandchildren.

        Jose’s grandfather bought a fake passport, green card and social security number, for 45000 dollars so that he can come to America . He landed at LAX on August of 1993. For a kid who grow up poor in the Philippines, America was like heaven for him. That same year he started middle school at Crittenden Middle School, when he heard the US national anthem for the first time, he thought that it meant like Oh Jose can you see.

          When Jose was 16, he went to the DMV ( department of motor vehicles), He did not tell his grandparents he brought his green card with him, he gave the DMV person the green card, the personnel said that the card was fake, and don’t come back here again. Jose was shock and don’t believed what the person said, he confronted his grandfather and said ‘is this fake’, his grandfather said two things yeah, ‘that’s fake’ and you are not supposed to be here. He did not know what to do, he is angry with his mom and grandparents for not thinking it thru. His choir teacher was planing a competition trip to Japan he said he could not afford it she said no we will find away but he said I have no papers I am not supposed to be here. The teacher told him they will go to Hawaii instead to accommodate him.

         Jose was 17, when his English teacher, said that he ask to many questions and do journalism. She sent him to a to a journalism camp, he went, he was very surprised to see his name on the top of the page, (the byline). he figured if I could not be here because I have no papers what if I am on the paper, he figured. In his junior year. While in his history class after watching a film on Harvey Milk the San Fransisco city counselor who was shot to death, he know he was gay, after the film he raises his hand and he said something like this I am sorry Harvey Milk for dying for being gay.,….I am gay. He ran out of his classroom. After class he told his grandparents, his grandfather kick him out of the house. Because he’s grandfather has a plan, the plan is to for him to work under the table jobs. (waiting, babysitting, salesman) marry an American woman and get papers.

       Jose had stopped talking to his mom and grandparents, his high-school principal became a mother figure to him. The time has come for him to go to college, but being an undocumented immigrant meant that he is paying a rate of a foreign student. His high school principal finds a man that is giving scholarship found for needy students He went to the San Francisco State University, he majored in Political Science/African studies He was a good student. He got internships, internships at the Philadelphia Daily News and at the Seattle times, but was rejected from the Seattle Times after he told the PR person he was undocumented after this incident he and high school his superintendent went to a lawyer, and said the only option was to go back to the Philippines accept a ten year ban and try to comeback, the superintendent said that he compartmentalize the issue and he will keep going. Working part time at the San Francisco Chronicle.while applying for that specific part time job, he check the US citizen box further more complicating his case. The Summer of his senior year he applied for an internship for the Washington Post.

       Jose was just 24, when he got a full time job Working for the Washington Post. There is a catch, he can’t be there without a drivers license. He haven’t driven before but he want the job. So he went to the local library for a day and Learn that Oregon have one of the lenient requirements, he only needed two things first, his paycheck and an Oregon recency, he have a friend who is living in Oregon. Off he want to Oregon. He had eight years to ‘write his way into America’ he had eight years to prove to people that he belong in America, four months in his job he told an editor his secret, the editor said ‘we are in this together, he have social security card that his grandfather gave him), he covered the 2005 state dinner for the Japanese Prime Minster, he covered the the presidential campaign in 2008, but the biggest achievement of his journalistic career came in 2008 when he is a part of the Washington post team that won a Pulitzer Prize for their reporting of the Virginia Tech shooting in 2008 at the aged 27.

     At aged of 27, Jose was livIng The AMERICAN DREAM, he has a wonderful life while he was still undocumented, when his grandmother learned that he won the Pulitzer her question is WHAT WILL HAPPEN WHEN PEOPLE FINE OUT, he hang the phone ran to the comfort room, and cried. By 2009 he left the Washington Post, he move to New York to joined the Huffington Post, he always wanted to live in New York after watching Manhattan, (the Woody Allen film). At this time he started watching videos of young undocumented people called DREAMers, they called them selves ‘Undocumented, unafraid, unapologetic, Jose can’t believe, ‘How can say you’re that you’re unafraid, I am so scared’. He said to him self, His dream job came when he was asked to cover Mark Zacherburg for the NewYorker, one night while he is interviewing him, Mark turn the tables on Jose and said Dude, where are you from. It’s Just a very basic question but he couldn’t answer. He knew that after profiling Mark, he needed to come out.

    The spring of 2011, Jose contacted some of his former editors at the Washington Post but at the final minute, they killed the story. Fortunately he contacted the New York Times, the Times said Yes. (By this time his Oregon license has expire, so he got a drivers license in Washington State.) the article is called “OUTLAW”, it was release around the country on June 2011, the next few weeks for him had been after he very busy he did TV guestings at shows like Anderson Cooper 360, The Bill O’Reily Factor The Rachel Maddow show and many more. But he didn’t here from the Government but the Washington drivers license had been revoke, he founded a non-profit organization DefineAmerican.com, when he did not hear from the government. So he contacted the editor of Time Magazine that he wanted to do an article on why he wasn’t deported. Time Magazine’s editors wanted to put his picture on the cover but the resented, he said we need undocumented young people, the editors of TIME were worried that they will not find people to put on cover he said ‘are you kidding me on FACEBOOK!!! They find the right people, he and 34 others appeared on the cover of TIME, cover story was ‘We Are.Americans: Not Just Legally.

          While doing journalistic work he is working on his 2nd documentary it’s called DOCUMENTED, (the first documentary was on AIDS, 2008 The Other City: AIDS on Washington DC) Documented.was released on early 2014 and was released on CNN on June 29, 2014. He has flowed around America with a Philippine Passport that the embassy in New York gave him after his drivers license was revoke. He was arrested near the The US Mexico border on July 15 2014, he went there to check on the Central American children who came to America, for refuge in an interview after being release Vargas, said the it wasn’t a stunt and he was doing this for the Central American children, he was given an immigration court date but it maybe years away. on 3rd August 2014 he celebrated his 21st year in America.

     Jose wasn’t qualified for Differed Action because he is four months older it’s 30 under, when it was sign in as an executive order he turned 31, but he is lobbying for ‘Earn Citizenship, he and his mother had reconciled on the documentary (documented) he and his mom saw each other for the first time via Skype, He paid under 200 thousand US dollars in Federal, State and local taxes since he was working at aged 18. He became a good citizen of his adopted country.


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