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Pinoy Pulitzer-prize winner Jose Vargas will not be deported, says immigration lawyer
Published on: Jun 27, 2011 - 11:24am

( Thirty-year-old journalist Jose Antonio Vargas, who exposed his story of being an illegal immigrant in an essay titled "My Life as an Undocumented Immigrant" that was published in last week's issue of the The New York Times, may not face immigration charges, according to immigration lawyers and officials, reports GMA News. US officials said they intend to prioritize those with "the most significant threats to public safety," thus eliminating the possibility of the Pulitzer winner's deportation.


According to an interview with ABS-CBN News, former American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) president David Leopold said that "Vargas is the kind of person we want in America," adding that he has worked hard and became an excellent writer with a promising career. Vargas, the second Filipino after Carlos P. Romulo to win a Pulitzer for his participation in the coverage of the Virginia Tech Massacre, worked for esteemed publications such as the San Francisco Chronicle, Washington Post, and The Huffington Post. Leopold said that Vargas may face civil penalties but doubts that any criminal charges will be filed.


Meanwhile, deputy Presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte told Radio dzRB that Malacañang is ready to assist Vargas if he comes to the Department of Foreign Affairs for help. Leopold also said that Vargas has not approached AILA for aid either. “Hopefully he will be represented by a competent immigration attorney," Leopold said.


Vargas admitted he was unsure of the legal implications of his revelation but he meant it to show support for the DREAM Act, a bill which would provide young immigrant students the possibility of gaining US citizenship. “On the surface, I’ve created a good life. I’ve lived the American dream… But I am still an undocumented immigrant. And that means living a different kind of reality,” he said in an ABS-CBN report. "In my heart, I am an American," he added, explaining his support for immigration.


In an interview with Associated Press, Vargas’ mother, Emelie Salinas, worried about the implications of his revelationl. “He was already there, he already achieved his dream, what else did he want?” Salinas had her father smuggle Vargas to the US when he was 12 with the promise that she would follow later. Salinas, however, had continually been denied a visa. She said her son was ready for the possible consequences, including deportation. “We are excited to see him,” she said.


For more on this story, visit GMA News and ABS-CBN News

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  • 9pcd
    Amused by the nativistic discourse over the Vargas case. By coming out in the open as an undocumented immigrant, he wasn't only speaking on behalf of all illegal entrants in America but also for the thousands of Filipinos in the US. Filipino migration to the US has both historical and structural roots. Reducing the story to a simple case of not wanting to be "Filipino" is reductive and simplistic.
    Jun 30 2011 @ 10:08pm     Reply  
  • lolame
    oh really? quote:Not a threat? Surely there are other uses for him as well??rn he's sure one lucky guy not to be the unfavorable choice to be deported.SOME people do have the luck..!!!
    Jun 28 2011 @ 03:17pm     Reply  
  • american pie
    @@american pie, I can take my meds at will why not? But I can't be refused to chew my gum also at will. Watch out for big brother. I don't want another Flor Contemplacion.
    Jun 28 2011 @ 02:52pm     Reply  
  • @american pie
    Well, Vargas wants to be like you, and cut all ties from the Philippines--and that's fine by me :) so no credit to the philippines there :p
    Jun 28 2011 @ 02:43pm     Reply  
  • @american pie
    i think you forgot to drink your meds. :)
    Jun 28 2011 @ 02:40pm     Reply  
  • american pie
    @@american pie, I am proud to be an American, at least II know I'm free. Can you be a Singaporean citizen. Ah wait, let me chew my gum while I flush my toilet. Help, somebody avoids to be caned. Caning in the 21st century? Pray tell me, who is antiquated?
    Jun 28 2011 @ 01:02pm     Reply  
  • @american pie
    Why are your panties up in a bunch? im filipino and im not offended that Vargas would rather be american than filipino :) im cool with that. Btw, your view of singapore is so antiquated. do try living here.
    Jun 28 2011 @ 12:09pm     Reply  
  • american pie
    @@ american pie, what a speinmaster. No wonder. Now here is a Singapore-educated guy who claims to be in a place where people agree to disagree. Laughable. Like we don't know Singapore honey. I am glad you haven't been caned yet. LOL. All of a sudden you people are experts on Vargas. You don't know him. You don't know his inner feelings. You don't know why he come out of the closet. You don't know why he came out of this citizenship hole. Yet you judge him like you live in his brains.
    Jun 28 2011 @ 11:03am     Reply  
  • surg702
    America needs white collar slaves and blue collar slaves. Vargas is nothing special. Filipinos make it a big deal. Vargas don't even consider himself Filipino.
    Jun 28 2011 @ 10:50am     Reply  
  • @american pie
    "With that kind of brains, it is better for you to stay in the Philippines." rnrnbtw, you just insulted people who made it a decision to live in the philippines with that that sentence. way to go, pal :)
    Jun 28 2011 @ 10:37am     Reply  
  • @american pie
    i don't live in the philippines-- I live and have been educated in Singapore, where people agree to disagree. and we discuss viewpoints without resorting to insults :p and in case you haven;t heard yet, citizenship is just a piece of paper. you can be a dual citizen but you're thinking will only be shaped by one culture.Vargas maybe Filipino on paper, but american by heart. he'd never even be successful if he didn't leave the philippines. so please, stop giving credit to the country.
    Jun 28 2011 @ 10:29am     Reply  
  • american pie
    With that kind of brains, it is better for you to stay in the Philippines. Most Germans have dual citizenship yet nobody judged anyone of them to have turned their backs on their heritage. More Filipinos are applying for dual citizenship and nobody judged anyone of them to have turned their back on their heritage. You can never understand the symbolic meaning of being an American unless you become one. You dwell on the negative values and not on its significance. You should live in multi-cultural New York City to understand how it is to be a citizen not just of the United States but of the world.
    Jun 28 2011 @ 10:18am     Reply  
  • @american pie
    and you don't get it either. Vargas has turned his back on his heritage-- he wants to be an American for Christ's sake! He has turned his back on his heritage. It's only people like you and american expat who would give the Philippines credit, when the country has absolutely nothing to do with the man;s success. he just happened to be born here.
    Jun 28 2011 @ 10:10am     Reply  
  • american pie
    @@american expat, you simply don't get it. The United States is a melting pot of all cultures and nationalities. If a citizen or an immigrant of the United States performs an extraordinary deed or accomplishes something big, the CREDIT goes not only to the individual but to his/her country of origin.
    Jun 28 2011 @ 10:00am     Reply  
  • @american expat
    a credit to the Philippines?! he doesn't even want to be a Filipino citizen!
    Jun 28 2011 @ 09:48am     Reply  
  • american expat
    This is great news! Vargas is a credit to the Philippines no matter what country he works in. I am glad he is getting his choice.rnrn@kalurkee: Enjoy your visit to the US. I hope you and your family encounter the "good" Americans, not the bad ones.
    Jun 27 2011 @ 06:06pm     Reply  
  • kalurkee
    @immigration and naturalization service - thanks for the reassurance. I agree with you too that the US will benefit having a citizen like him
    Jun 27 2011 @ 01:15pm     Reply  
  • kalurkeeee
    dapat dyan ikulong habang buhay. kahit na talented siya, gumawa siya ng kasalanan sa batas. parasuhan. ikulong. sinungaling.
    Jun 27 2011 @ 12:50pm     Reply  
  • immigration and naturalization service
    @ kalurkee, you have nothing to fear for as long as you can present to the interviewer that you have a legitimate reason to visit the United States and you have the financial capability (i.e. no fake documents). I am not a lawyer but Jose Vargas is the type of citizen who will be kept by the United States. The US offers visas for extra-ordinary talented individuals. His Pulitzer Prize award is already proof of that. These are the times that the US needs these type of immigrants instead of the usual relatives of US citizens or immigrants who will milk the US system of benefits like MediCal and welfare stamps even if they haven't contributed anything to the US financial system.
    Jun 27 2011 @ 12:44pm     Reply  
  • kalurkee
    Good for him. His article was truly touching. But let's face it that it's situations like his - "TNT" - that contribute to the US Embassy in the Phils being strict in granting visas (even tourist visas). I cringe at the thought that this article came out barely a week before my family and I are about to be interviewed for our US visa. Though I sincerely hope for the best for this man Antonipo Vargas.
    Jun 27 2011 @ 12:33pm     Reply  
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