The Washington Post's Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter Jose Antonio Vargas came out as an undocumented immigrant in a New York Times Magazine article today. The lengthy piece details his secret life, which he lived while excelling as a journalist and, outwardly, a U.S. citizen. He learned when he was 16 that his family had used fake documentation to get him to the U.S., and over the years, he kept up the illusion. But he says it was four students' pilgrimage from Miami to Washington, D.C., to lobby for the Dream Act that inspired him to go public with his own immigration status.
There are believed to be 11 million undocumented immigrants in the United States. We’re not always who you think we are. Some pick your strawberries or care for your children. Some are in high school or college. And some, it turns out, write news articles you might read. I grew up here. This is my home. Yet even though I think of myself as an American and consider America my country, my country doesn’t think of me as one of its own.
Vargas, who won a breaking news Pulitzer in 2007 for his coverage of the Virginia Tech shootings, has had a big year for opening up. In September, he wrote that he was gay in his New Yorker profile of Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg. A similar candidness pervades his Times Magazine piece today, when he talks about his internal strife during the immigration debates of the 1990s. "They’re not talking about me, I would tell myself. I have something to contribute." the whole article is worth a read when you have time, but for a quick glimpse of some of the emotions running through it, check out the ABC interview with Vargas on his revelation: