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Why Jose Antonio Vargas Is an American Hero

Vargas is incredibly brave to risk everything he has accomplished to tell the truth-and to shine more light on the pressing need for immigration reform in the USA.

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But despite his many amazing successes, Vargas still felt incomplete. Now we know why.

In an incredibly moving and important piece in the New York Times Sunday Magazine, My Life as an Undocumented Immigrant, he has just ‘come out” again – this time bravely and dangerously revealing that he is an undocumented immigrant, who has lived in the shadows since arriving in the USA in 1993 as a 12-year-old. Yes, this young man, on the fast track to attaining the putative American Dream, has now exposed himself not as “American” – but as “other.”

Jose Antonio Vargas is incredibly brave to risk everything he has accomplished in this country in order to tell the truth-and to shine yet another but still much-needed light on the pressing need for comprehensive immigration reform in this country. He, and millions like him, have much to contribute to America – and without people like them, our country will be far poorer.

If there isn’t room in the United States for people like Jose Antonio – the precise type of people who made this country great – I despair for our collective future. I urge you to read his inspiring story, and then to take action to ensure that Jose Antonio – and the many others like him – aren’t forced to choose between hiding in the shadows or risking it all by telling the truth.

Filmmaker and journalist Rory O'Connor is the author of " Shock Jocks: Hate Speech and Talk Radio " (AlterNet Books, 2008). O'Connor also writes the Media Is A Plural blog.

 
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