Shock and Praise Following Immigrant Journalist’s Confession

Jose Antonio Vargas

Jose Antonio Vargas

This article by Maricar CP Hampton & Cristina DC Pastor originally appeared in The FilAm

Pulitzer Award winning journalist Jose Antonio Vargas, who confessed to being an undocumented immigrant in a New York Times essay, was at the Philippine Consulate in New York June 22 for a private meeting with immigration lawyers.

He or any of the lawyers from Filipino-American Legal and Education Defense Fund (Faldef) who offered to assist him, did not make a statement.

Consul General Mario Lopez de Leon Jr. said the consulate offered to help Vargas, including putting him in touch with pro bono lawyers.

“We told him, we’re willing to help,” he told reporters.

In Washington D.C., where Vargas made a name as an investigative reporter for the Washington Post, friends and community leaders were stunned by his essay entitled “My life as an Undocumented Immigrant.”

“I was shocked, surprised. This is the face of an undocumented immigrant, and I know him,” said friend Bing Cardenas Branigin.

The National Federation of Filipino American Associations (Naffaa) commended Vargas for his courage in “coming out to tell his story.”

“He feels very strongly that he is an American. He has achieved a lot of things as a journalist and he wants to prove that although he is not an American in paper this is the country he grew up in and loved,” said Naffaa spokesman Jon Melegrito.

To read the rest of the article, go to The FilAm.

AboutCristina DC Pastor
Cristina DC Pastor, a former Fi2W Business and Economics Reporting fellow, is the publisher and editor of The FilAm ( Her book, “Scratch the News: Filipino Americans in Our Midst” (Inkwater, 2005), is a celebration of ordinary citizens at the center of extraordinary stories. She is a graduate of The New School.