Jose Antonio Vargas Tries to Define What an American Is

risk management
Jose Antonio Vargas

Recently Jose Antonio Vargas, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and undocumented immigrant, was arrested by the Border Patrol. The LA Times did a long interview with him after he was released and asked him how he would define what an American is. Here is his answer:

“That’s a question we all have to ask. As far as I’m concerned, I’m an American just waiting for my own country to recognize it. I was recently re-watching “Lincoln” — a Republican who freed the slaves. Now Republicans — many of them — are saying they do not want to legalize these Hispanics and Asians because they’re guaranteed Democratic votes. I’m not here to elect anybody. I’m not here to be part of the Republicans or Democrats. America is bigger than a party to me.

People assume I’m Latino or Mexican because of my name. Once they find out I’m not, they often start hating on Mexicans in front of me, using words like “illegals.” This is why Define American has been pressuring the media to stop using the word to refer to people. People use “illegal” and “Mexican” interchangeably, as if all undocumented people are Mexican, as if there’s something wrong with being Mexican. I’m sorry — they used to own Texas and Arizona and California!”

Previous articleHouse Votes to End DACA for DREAMers
Next articleHow Many Long Islanders Will Benefit from Immigration Executive Order?
Patrick Young blogs daily for Long Island Wins. He is the Downstate Advocacy Director of the New York Immigration Coalition and Special Professor of Immigration Law at Hofstra School of Law. He served as the Director of Legal Services and Program at Central American Refugee Center (CARECEN) for three decades before retiring in 2019. Pat is also a student of immigration history and the author of The Immigrants' Civil War.