Morning Mix: Should The Writer Be Deported?

Perhaps the most stunning story to come out of the last few days is that of Jose Antonio Vargas, the Pulitzer Prize winning journalist who wrote a breathtaking expose on — himself. Yes, he has been an undocumented immigrant living illegally in the country for decades, and he has finally come out in order to have an open and honest conversation about immigration and the country’s paths to citizenship.

The reaction has been passionate, to say the least. The Washington Post, who was originally going to run the piece, eventually turned it down, many think out of hurt feelings over being deceived. Another of his editors also complains of being duped. Reporters are primarily concerned with how Vargas’s lies effect them as a profession.  But Think Progress notes that Vargas’s story shows that people are only somewhat willing to enact our immigration laws, based on how many people assisted him along the way.  Not so, say conservatives, who want him at the very least convicted as a tax cheat if not worse.

Now that he’s out, and has admitted his past wrongdoings, will he be deported?  Mother Jones speaks with experts who say it is unlikely.

Watch Vargas tell his own story.

Photo credit: Youtube screen grab



Marjorie L.
Marjorie L6 years ago

Lisa P and you have any idea what the immigration system is like in our country? It is not like Jose just didn't want to take a day off work to go down to INS and fill out the forms....The system doesn't work. Unless he was willing to enter a sham marriage, there was no easy fix or fine to pay or straightforward path for him to remedy the situation.

We do not have a consensus in this country about who should be allowed in and who not, and our hodgepodge immigration laws reflect our conflicted feelings. Basically, rich people of any stripe are allowed in and poor people are denied entry. There are ways to game the system, but they all involve money. Poor people are denied access and poor people do what anyone would do---look for some way to survive and create something better for their children.

No one is blaming you for the mess. But to turn around and condemn millions of people to live in the shadows as sub-citizens doesn't seem like a solution anyone is looking for.

Every time the issue of immigration comes up in CARE TO, I read people bringing up welfare fraud, disease, and crime, etc. These are real problems that happen in society, but they aren't "immigrant" issues. If someone is committing welfare fraud, there should be enforcement and consequences, not because of the land of origin of the perpetrator, but because of the nature of the offense. Same with crime. Sick people need access to treatment. We are the only industrialized nation that does

Ralph G.
Ralph Gardner6 years ago

(continued)...Janet need to reread the earlier posts as you apparently are unaware that his parents brought him to this country when he was 12; while the illegals have received certain levels of benefits, it does not justify your condemnation. After all, we have let them through because of labor costs and have greatly taken advantage of sure you have all the facts before you comment...

David also need to reread the posts and learn more about the situation. He's not trespassing as he was brought to this country by his parents. Issues of this kind are not simplistic...again, read the posts before you comment...

Lisa P...Have you read all of the posts? This is not an example of blanket amnesty nor is it about rewarding people who no respect for the laws. And if we lived in this country as you would rather have it regarding the LAWS, we would have a repressive, dictatorial regime, the same kind the Republicans absurdly claim where Obama is taking us. So read the posts and my comments on the function of the law...

Good posts Cindy B, Kris Y, Ewoud k, Elizabeth O, Marilyn L, Helen K, Leo L, Sheila L, Pat B, ...thank you

Ralph G.
Ralph Gardner6 years ago

Bruce S...
Reread what I wrote as it's NOT about letting everyone in but rather to understand a person's situation. The reason we have a court system is so that we can help the law function in its highest capacity. This is why when someone posts "the law is the law" as if to say there can't be exceptions, then they are eliminating a crucial aspect of our justice system. In the same way I am responding to your statement that "ignorance of the law is no excuse" which falls into the same trap.
Brian F...similar message to you as well. The truth is we do make exceptions which is how the justice system is supposed to work. And it demonstrates our compassion as a nation; this does not mean we are letting people pour into our country where we will be overpopulated as you have referenced China and India. Think of the situation we are currently experiencing with the TSA at airports where we have had another absurd incident involving a 90 year old woman, dying of Leukemia, who was made to shed her adult diaper; this is an example (one of many) where airport security has gone way beyond the bounds of what is appropriate. The law is NOT perfect so it must be adjudicated, that is, it must be revisited in terms of effectiveness so that justice is served which supports our constitutional rights. So the law is not as clear as you think in every situation...

Same message for Marianne C, Diane M (your attitude is juvenile), Janet need to reread the earlier posts as you appa

Lisa Pool
Lisa Pool6 years ago

Sooo.... someone comes here as a kid from another country, not even knowing what's what or that he's "committing a crime," goes to school, works hard, achieves success, pays taxes, contributes to the artistic and intellectual spheres....

I don't see "apply for US Citizenship" in there anywhere. Seems like an amazing list of accomplishments but still no effort to become a citizen of the great country that gave him all the opportunity.

"Real" crime? So there are degrees of crime and breaking the law? What should be okay? What part isn't? Who gets to set what laws we live by?

I'm not a hater. There are laws. My ancestors had to come here and play by the rules, learn the language, pay taxes. The kids of the immigrants went to school and were taught in English. They adapted to this country, not us adapting to them.

I know people who have come here to have a better life. They are working towards becoming citizens. I have worked construction with some very hard workers who wanted more for their families and have nothing but respect for them. But I also live in a state that is overwhelmed with people who came here illegally and are living off the state and federal benefits leaving people who could use them not able to get them.

William Y.
William Y6 years ago

Great post, Cindy B.

Cindy B.
Cindy B6 years ago

Sooo.... someone comes here as a kid from another country, not even knowing what's what or that he's "committing a crime," goes to school, works hard, achieves success, pays taxes, contributes to the artistic and intellectual spheres....

Meanwhile, we've got "US Citizens" who are total deadbeats, commit REAL crimes that hurt others directly, maybe land in prison to the tune of multiple $1,000's of taxpayer dollars per year..

And we should demonize and punish the first one, but accept the second one uncritically just because he's "one of us?"

Apparently this society is so backward that all we can recognize is the exact letter of "the law," while the spirit of the law is lost on us. VERY NONADAPTIVE.

Perhaps we could make a new rule that any illegal alien who can win a Pulitzer or Nobel Prize has won the chance to stay in this country? Would that be good enuf for all you haters out there? No, probably not...

Lisa Pool
Lisa Pool6 years ago

Illegal is illegal. I don't care if someone wants to move here and have a better life but do it legally. At some point he became aware enough to know to hide his status. That is when he should have done something. I hear all the time how we should grant blanket amnesty. Why? That just rewards people who have no respect for the laws of this country. Maybe we should all go rob banks and stores. It's not like it would really hurt anyone, plus those people have more than us so they should share.

As far as having open borders, that would open us up to terrorists from all over the world. Anyone remember 9/11?

Diane Mckinney
Diane Mckinney6 years ago

Sorry, no illegal "earns" their way in this country. He should apply legally or go home. I am so sick & tired of the "no fault of their own" but you know what? It's not my fault either, nor should we be forced to pay for their parents mistakes. There are many others in line ahead of him who have been taking the legal path. It's not fair to them that he gets promoted to the front of the line.
An open, honests discussion on he's scammed this country for so long? Send his ass back home, the sooner the better.

Chris B.
Chris Berry6 years ago

@ Robert. That won't work as he is too old to be protected (immigration law) by adoption. However, he CAN get married. Quickly. He knows what states he can do that in. However, that solution works for him and doesn't help the countless others who will benefit by a broad-handed solution to a very difficult problem--- just read these posts! We can help by looking at the immigration voting records of our elected officials (and by boycotting Arizona of course).

Robert R.
Robert R6 years ago

I have a solution:

Anyone here want to adopt him?