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Hullabaloo


Wednesday, June 29, 2011

 
Define American

by digby

I think this is a worthy cause.


Just one short week ago, I published a shocking expose in the New York Times. It was my life story. I am an undocumented immigrant, an outlaw in my own country.

Since publishing "My Life As an Undocumented Immigrant," I have been drowning in media requests, tearful letters, and powerful Facebook messages. I want to thank all of the individuals who have both challenged and supported me, as well as ask those who have not yet done so to join me.

I decided to quit my job as a Pulitzer-prize winning journalist and come out about my immigration status in order to launch the project "Define American." I knew it would be a risk, but I also knew it was long past time to strike up a more civil, inclusive debate about immigration in America. After all, I had a unique story to tell, and I was tired of staying silent.

We may not all agree on how to fix it, but one thing we can all agree on is that our immigration debate is out of control and our immigration system is badly broken. I believe that not only can we do better, but that we must.

Will you sign the pledge to stand with me -- Jose Antonio Vargas -- in saying that it's time for a new national conversation on immigration? Define American. Pledge to ask questions, debate, listen, and learn.

Some would say my story is the tale of a hard-working immigrant who defines the American dream: achieving success against great odds, working hard, and even earning a Pulitzer Prize for my reporting. Still, despite everything I've achieved, the law still says I am not technically an American. I am undocumented.

I want to ask my fellow Americans: what would you do, if you found out at age 16 that you didn't have the right papers? As a journalist, my job is to ask questions that spark conversation. Now I am asking you to join in.

Sign the pledge to "Define American", share it with everyone you know, and then leave us a comment about what you would do if you found out you were undocumented. I will bring your comments with me as I head to the next round of media interviews.

We all have a story to tell, so let's talk. Let's debate. Most importantly, let's listen.



These are brave people:

In Georgia, six young undocumented immigrants risked deportation on Tuesday by staging a protest in the state capitol. The demonstrators — most high school aged — were arrested after they sat and blocked traffic, declaring their status and denouncing anti-immigrant state policies. The young people were specifically directing their protest at a policy that bars Georgia’s most competitive universities from accepting undocumented immigrants. The protest is the latest in a string of so-called “coming out” demonstrations throughout the country, intended to pressure lawmakers into adopting policies that would favor young undocumented immigrants seeking higher education and other rights. Meanwhile on Capitol Hill, the Senate held its first-ever hearing Tuesday on the DREAM Act, legislation that would provided young undocumented immigrants a legal pathway to citizenship through attending a university or serving in the military.



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