Jose Vargas – America’s Most Prominent Undocumented Immigrant

Jose Antonio Vargas, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and a filmmaker, has lived in the U.S. for more than 20 years. He is an undocumented immigrant who was brought up by his grandparents who are naturalized U.S. citizens. He is the founder of Define America, an immigrant rights advocacy group.

He has detailed his life story as an undocumented immigrant in his film “Documented”. This is a film about U.S. immigration and this film aims at expanding the conversation around immigration and citizenship in the U.S. He wants the country to provide a path to lawful status for the country’s undocumented immigrants who have no criminal records, under the DREAM Act (Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors).

Vargas is the best known undocumented immigrant of America. He outed his immigration status in June 2011 in a story he wrote for the New York Times Magazine. He was recently detained when he attempted to pass through airport security in McAllen, Texas and was released hours later.

Vargas fights against detentions and for the dignity of undocumented workers in the country. He says that every day is a struggle for the country’s undocumented immigrants. Since the House is refusing to act on immigration and to come up with a solution, he wants President Obama to provide relief to the immigrants in the country. He says that the American states will need to help the immigrants who are contributing to the community by issuing them municipal IDs and drivers’ licenses.

Vargas entered the U.S. when he was 12. However, he was unable to file an application for deferred action status under President Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. That is because, he had already turned 30 around four months before the program was implemented. There are many others in the U.S. just like Vargas who are unable to apply for DACA just because they do not meet the age requirements. Vargas wants the Obama administration to expand the DACA program to include other groups of undocumented immigrants so that others like him will also be able to receive the benefits of this program.