Pulitzer-prize winning journalist comes out as illegal immigrant

Pulitzer-prize winning journalist comes out as illegal immigrant

Pulitzer-Prize winning journalist Jose Antonio Vargas reveals in The New York Times Magazine that he’s lived in the United States for nearly 20 years as an illegal immigrant.

Vargas writes that his Filipino mother sent him to live with his grandparents–who were legally living in the Bay Area–when he was only 12 years old. He was placed on a plane with a man who he was told was his uncle–in actuality, a “coyote,” ie., a person who helps marshal illegal immigrants across the U.S. border–and has never seen his mother since.

When he was 16, Vargas writes, he applied for a driver’s license and discovered that his green card was fake. He spent the next 15 years hiding his secret from friends, classmates, and employers, hoping that some form of immigration reform would pass in the meantime and allow him to live openly in the country.

“This deceit never got easier,” he writes. “The more I did it, the more I felt like an impostor, the more guilt I carried — and the more I worried that I would get caught. But I kept doing it. I needed to live and survive on my own, and I decided this was the way.”

Now, Vargas is starting a campaign called Define American, where he’s spotlighting immigrants’ stories.

By Liz Goodwin

Pulitzer-prize winning journalist comes out as illegal immigrant

"Hispanics" in Puerto Rico?

A Demographic Portrait of Hispanics in Puerto Rico
By The Pew Hispanic Center

The 2010 U.S. Census counted 3.7 million Hispanics living in Puerto Rico, a territory of the United States. This was down from 3.8 million in 2000.


By contrast, in the 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia (D.C.), the population of Puerto Rican-origin Hispanics increased from 3.4 million in 2000 to 4.6 million in 2010, surpassing Puerto Rico’s Hispanic population. Nearly one-third of Puerto Rican-origin Hispanics in the 50 states and D.C. were born in Puerto Rico, according to Pew Hispanic Center tabulations from the 2009 American Community Survey.

Puerto Ricans born in Puerto Rico are U.S. citizens by birth. But because Puerto Rico, like Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands, is not part of the 50 states or D.C., those who reside in Puerto Rico are not allowed to vote for President or to elect a voting member of the U.S. Congress. Those who move from Puerto Rico to live in the 50 states and the District of Columbia can vote in federal elections.

This profile compares the demographic, income, and economic characteristics of Hispanics living in Puerto Rico with the characteristics of Hispanics of Puerto Rican origin living in the 50 states and D.C as well as with all Hispanics living in the 50 states and D.C. These profiles are based on tabulations from the 2009 Puerto Rico Community Survey and the 2009 American Community Survey by the Pew Hispanic Center.

"Hispanics" in Puerto Rico?