You Should Read 'My Life as an Undocumented Immigrant'
I've found myself crying at everything lately––and not just reruns of "Grey's Anatomy." These days, given my real-world journalism internship at a magazine, I find myself crying while researching articles; tearing up when someone sends in a sad letter to the editor. Maybe it's my hormones, or maybe I'm finally tapping into feelings I always suspected I had.
The point is—today, I read an article in The New York Times written by Jose Antonio Vargas, and it really got to me. The article, "My Life as an Undocumented Immigrant," is a first-person account of the author's journey from the Philippines to the U.S. illegally and the ensuing confusion and anxiety he's felt—as he excelled in school and at work by winning a Pulitzer Prize for journalism. He's a successful man, and yet this secret of not belonging and yet feeling as "American" as everyone else, has haunted him. This article is his confession to the world that he no longer wants to live this lie, no matter the consequences.
He's a fine writer, certainly, but I think he really hits the "Make Malia Cry" button because he gives a voice to so many people I see every day. People I crowd into the subway with; people who work with me or who hand me change at Chipotle. Anyone. I know they all have stories, but I don't think about them too much. They'd turn into a depressing novel. Vargas brings to light his story and the issue of what it means to be American at all. Is it success? Motivation? Courage? As a writer, I think he has all of the above.
If you want to learn more about the issue of citizenship that Vargas raises, he is working on a new charity called Define American, which aims to give a voice to undocumented immigrants across the nation. We think it's a worthy cause and political issue, one where we openly welcome the debate it should stir up in this country.