Jose Antonio Vargas in NYT – My Life As an Undocumented Immigrant
June 22, 2011 § Leave a comment
This piece in the NYT by Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Jose Antonio Vargas is showing up every where today, and for good reason. Its a very moving account of an undocumented immigrant who has done everything he can to try and earn his place in the U.S. I, like everyone else talking about the piece, highly suggest reading it all but these lines at the end were the hardest hitting for me –
But the real reason was, after so many years of trying to be a part of the system, of focusing all my energy on my professional life, I learned that no amount of professional success would solve my problem or ease the sense of loss and displacement I felt. I lied to a friend about why I couldn’t take a weekend trip to Mexico. Another time I concocted an excuse for why I couldn’t go on an all-expenses-paid trip to Switzerland. I have been unwilling, for years, to be in a long-term relationship because I never wanted anyone to get too close and ask too many questions. All the while, Lola’s question was stuck in my head: What will happen if people find out?
I certainly don’t have a solution to the immigration concerns and as a naturalized immigrant myself, my views are colored but the idea of “earning” your citizenship seems amazingly loaded with moral evaluations and value judgments to me. Why is economic output or education attainment deemed a viable path to citizenship? Like I said, i don’t know the answer to this or any of the related questions, but I do think it is important to ask these questions.