Should Pulitzer winner be sent to his place of birth because he is in the U.S. illegally?

Jose Antonio Vargas was part of the Washington Post reporting team that won a Pulitzer Prize for its reporting of the Virginia Tech shootings and the first thing his grandmother said to him was, “Anong mangyayari kung malaman ng mga tao?” (What will happen if people find out?)

Vargas has been in the U.S. since he was 12. His mother sent him here from the Philippines to have a better life. It was a few years before he learned he was here illegally. At that point he became complicit, but he kept it hidden for a long time.

Not anymore.

He also managed to get help. And no one who ever knew about his status, including a worker at the Social Security Administration, ever turned him in to immigration authorities.

During his time here in the United States he has demonstrated an amazing record as an achiever.

This is a very interesting story that challenges assumptions of those who would send everyone back and those who would let everyone stay.

I’ve launched a poll. You answer it. Leave your thoughts here, including whether you think there is an option I have missed.

An interesting side note: He was able to buy himself eight years by getting an Oregon driver’s license. He bought five more by getting a license from Washington.

Another interesting side note: The story is in the New York Times because the Washington Post passed on it.

5 thoughts on “Should Pulitzer winner be sent to his place of birth because he is in the U.S. illegally?

  1. If he had come forward and been forthright when he found out his status, I would have some compassion. But, he didn’t. What he achieved here is admirable, but do we forgive everyone who enters here illegally if they have led a good life? Why should we consider him an exception? Do we give him a front of the line pass in front of all those good people who are immigrating legally?

    This is the same issue I have with the DREAM Bill.

    Finally, I could live with it if the law was changed and said that we would welcome you with open arms if you can make it to continental American soil and you do not have a criminal record anywhere else. But until that is the law, I cannot be ok with giving illegal immigrants a pass in front of legal immigrants unless they can prove asylum needs.

  2. WE have immigrant laws for a reason it is not fair to make exceptions because he won an award. Next thing you know everyone illegal who ever received an award will be asking for an exemption. If anything I think our laws need to be tougher. I dont think it is fair to give a child born in the USA whose parents are here illegally citizenship. If you think about it the child would never have been on our land in the first place if the illegal parents were in their own country. Asylum is diffrent and if protocol is followed I think it should be given but for the border crossers who sneak into our country illegaly I say send ’em back! I was born in the USA, I work hard for my money, I dream of my retirement with my social security benefits that I have honestly paid into and IF I should need assistance from the Welfare department I should get it because I am a citizen of the USA and those benefits my fellow taxpaying US citizens have paid into!!! It seems all of our resources are being used to help those who dont even belong in our country! Maybe we could focus on improving our own Nation if we werent so busy trying to save everyone elses Nation. When our National deficit is under control and our homeless and hungry are fed and housed then when can extend a helping hand if you will. But you cant fix the world until you fix U. I heard on the news we (US Citizens) donated over 2 BILLION dollars to help HAITI, whose government officals flat out LIED about the numbers of homeless and loss people just get to our bleeding heartts so we would open our wallets!! 2 BILLION… could you imagine what that would have done for your very own community?

  3. To be clear, I brought up the Pulitzer Prize to illustrate how this guy doesn’t fit the stereotype both sides trot out, not to be used as a reason to excuse him. I think, for the most part, the prize is a moot point. It just points out that sometimes it’s the person you least suspect who . . .

    Steven Gardner
    Kitsap Caucus border agent

  4. I saw this comment on the story and had to reprint it here because I agree with it and frankly, I couldn’t say it any better than this.

    From Mubou on Yahoo:

    I am confused as to what people would have us do. If American citizenship means nothing, i.e, anyone can walk over a border without permission and be a citizen, are we actually a Nation? Mexico has (an) immigration standard that is draconian by our standards. An El Salvadorean sneaking into Mexico could be jailed for up to 5 years and banned from ever re-entering the country. Why are we the bad guys for doing what every country does? Because this is a better place to live does not mean that the whole world gets compulsory citizenship. I am a liberal. I marched in the streets against Prop 8 and the Wars. I protested against Prop 187 too. But an open border? Are you people nuts?

  5. Kelly,

    I didn’t mean to infer opening our borders. Frankly, the opposite. I would like our border security to be one of our top domestic priorities. But, if the law were as I stated (kind of like the law for Cubans who reach our soil), I could deal with it. I can not accept arbitrary enforcement.

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