Journalist Jose Antonio Vargas, A Filipino Undocumented Immigrant, Asks What Defines An American

By Steve Goldstein
Published: Thursday, September 19, 2019 - 11:49am
Updated: Thursday, September 19, 2019 - 3:31pm

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Jose Antonio Vargas
Arizona State University
Jose Antonio Vargas

The question of who is an American should be relatively easy to define, because it’s different than asking who is an American citizen. Clashes over immigration policy, though, have made the conversation much more dramatic and uncomfortable — especially over the past couple of years.

Journalist Jose Antonio Vargas has experienced all of this on the most personal level, since he — as an undocumented preteen — came from the Philippines to live with his grandparents in Mountain View, California.

Vargas generated headlines when he came out publicly in the New York Times Magazine as an undocumented immigrant earlier this decade. Since then, Vargas has founded the media and culture organization Define American. Thursday night in Tempe, he’ll be giving the Flinn Foundation Centennial Lecture presented by Barrett, the Honors College at Arizona State University.

He's also the author of "Dear America: Notes of an Undocumented Citizen."

The Show spoke with him and started by asking about the Trump administration’s policies on immigration and how he believes that has affected the overall perception of immigrants in the U.S.

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