Immigration Reform Activist to Speak on Campus

Immigration activist Jose Antonio Vargas will speak at Marquette at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, March 25 in the Weasler Auditorium.

vargas_tabloid-01Vargas, an award-winning journalist and filmmaker, revealed his status as an undocumented immigrant in an essay in The New York Times Magazine, after winning a Pulitzer Prize while working for the Washington Post. His essay, published in an effort to promote dialogue on immigration reform, detailed the uncertainty of his life due to his immigration status.

Vargas was born in the Philippines, and moved to the San Francisco Bay Area to live with his grandparents when he was 12-years-old. However, he never obtained permission to live in the United States permanently. Vargas learned of his immigration status at the age of 16 when he applied for a driver’s license and discovered that his identification documents were fraudulent.

After publishing the essay revealing his immigration status, Vargas founded Define American, a nonprofit foundation dedicated to facilitating national conversations about immigration issues. Define American supports the DREAM Act, a legislation package that would allow undocumented immigrants a path to legalization. The organization also monitors use of the term “illegal immigrant” in the media, and urges new outlets to instead use the term “undocumented.” Outlets including The Associated Press and The New York Times announced they have made the switch.

Vargas also testified at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing.

In the two years since Vargas revealed his immigration status, he has become a face of the immigration movement. His appearance on Tuesday, March 25 is free to students.


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