Undocumented Journalist Jose Antonio Vargas Misses Cutoff for Obama Immigration Policy

Monday, June 18, 2012

The journalist who revealed he was an undocumented immigrant in a blockbuster article a year ago said he’s still in the country, but won’t be eligible to apply for a work permit under President Barack Obama’s immigration reform policy.

Speaking on WNYC’s the Brian Lehrer Show on Monday, Jose Antonio Vargas applauded the president’s push to allow young undocumented immigrants to stay in the country.

“The president should be commended for the bold and courageous decision that he did on Friday,” Vargas said. “But history is going to have to decide how all the deportations, more than a million people in three years, how that’s going to be able to be justified.”

Vargas is a journalist and an undocumented immigrant, who outed himself in an article he wrote for the New York Times Magazine in June 2011.

 He also wrote the cover story for this week’s Time Magazine, titled “We are Americans* (*Just not legally), in which he reported on living in citizenship limbo.

Having turned 31 four months ago, Vargas said he’s not eligible to apply for the president’s new policy, which applies to immigrants under the age of 30. But he applauded the young undocumented immigrants who lobbied for the Dream Act, and whose “coming out,” he said, contributed to the change in the immigration debate’s tone.

“There is definitely risks in coming out,” Vargas said. “But I bet more and more and more people will be coming out [following Obama’s decision].”

Vargas said that meant not only young undocumented students, but also American citizens who supported them.

Some potential candidates for deferred action have expressed concern about applying and then facing possible deportation if there is a change in the policy, following November elections.

“There is some danger that those individuals might end up in removal proceedings,” said Allan Wernick, professor of law at Baruch College, told WNYC.

Speaking on CBS’ Sunday morning talk-show Face the Nation the presumptive Republican presidential candidate, Mitt Romney, stopped short of declaring he would overturn Obama’s decision if he won the White House this fall.

Instead, he said he would “work with Congress to put in place a long-term solution for the children of those that have come here illegally.”

Don Lyster, director of the National Immigration Law Center, told WNYC that although it’s hard to say what exactly will happen, given the small amount of information that is for now available, he would “encourage folks to use this policy and to come forth … and to take advantage of it.”


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Comments [5]

EnoughAmerica from North Carolina

When did the word illegal come to mean its right? How many times have we heard of a pastor, high ranking civil servant, teacher and I can go on and on, they did something illegal and have to pay the price. But because we have "undocumented immigrants" who are teachers, scientist, construction workers, etc they deserve a free pass? The recent Time Magazine story is offensive and atrocious!

You all make me sick!

But America is not without fault. We have been too relaxed about the laws because industry and the economy we're too good here. We turned a blind eye. Now the country is flooded. I understand these are good people, but so am I. Break a law, pay the price. The American people are paying that price for "undocumented immigrants".

Since America screwed this up, the only recourse is to make them citizens, make them "legal" and close the boarders. It's the easy way out but we are to blame. But it's sicking not to call it what it is, "undocumented" not even close, it's illegal.

Jul. 16 2012 01:22 PM
RETUSAF from Las Vegas

Undocumented Journalist Jose Antonio Vargas Misses Cutoff for Obama Immigration Policy.

He is a felon anyway, why is he still in the country or not in Jail or both.

Jun. 22 2012 09:27 PM

@wsb from Manhattan and @Mark, obviously you seem to already have made up your mind, and unlike Mr. Vargas, you probably don't have much to show about how success, and should actually admire Mr. Vargas. He is a true representation of someone who pursues what he loves and does well, journalism, so much that he got into programs and companies, other only dream they could. With all the obstacles, he has done what many wish they could, having no obstacles at all. It is funny how you guys are so "upset", or whatever you want to call it, yet you are decedents of others who broke the law to be here and possibly even more. Look back at History, read, and you will see that many great people, had to "break the law", like you like to say, to accomplish anything. Today we admire their work; if I have to mention anyone to you, it will prove my point. Good luck! Like you, noone is going anywhere and the sooner you realize it, the better for you and the future of our country.

Jun. 19 2012 08:37 AM

Wow, being law abiding really is for suckers. From Wall Street to the New York Times just say any lie it takes to get ahead. Cool! brb, adding a computer science masters to my resume...

Jun. 18 2012 06:40 PM
wsb from Manhattan

While I am willing to stomach this action because Congress wasn't willing to come to the table and hammer out a true legislative solution, I'm just troubled by the use of Mr. Vargas as such a vocal critic or US immigration policy and advocate for change. Mr. Vargas broke the law a number of times as and adult (every time he applied for a job in the US) which he freely admitted during this interview. I just think he is an extremely poor choice of spokesman on this issue.

Jun. 18 2012 04:40 PM

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