90.9 WBUR - Boston's NPR news station
Top Stories:
PLEDGE NOW
Here and Now with Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson
Public radio's live
midday news program
With sponsorship from
Mathworks - Accelerating the pace of engineering and science
Accelerating the pace
of engineering and science

A Conversation With Immigrant Activist Jose Antonio Vargas

In this June 20, 2012, file photo former Washington Post journalist turned immigration reform activist, Jose Antonio Vargas, center, an illegal immigrant himself, speaks in Washington. (Jacquelyn Martin/AP)

In this June 20, 2012, file photo former Washington Post journalist turned immigration reform activist, Jose Antonio Vargas, center, an illegal immigrant himself, speaks in Washington. (Jacquelyn Martin/AP)

Immigrant-rights activist Jose Antonio Vargas has written extensively about the fact that he has been living illegally in the U.S. for years.

A Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, Vargas was recently in south Texas documenting the stories of many Central American child migrants detained at a shelter in McAllen. As an immigrant himself, he says it was only “natural” that he go there.

Vargas often travels without documentation — he told Here & Now’s Meghna Chakrabarti that in the past three years, he has attended “maybe 250 events in 43 states.”

But when he tried to board a plane to return, he was detained by border patrol officers for around eight hours. This was the first time he’s interacted with border patrol officers in airport security, even though he has also visited San Diego and various cities in Arizona. Now, for the first time, he’ll have to appear before a judge in immigration court.

As he remarked, “It’s somewhat ironic: This is the first time that the U.S. government, at least the immigration government, acknowledges my existence.”

Although the incident has raised questions, Vargas insists that it was a legitimate legal conflict, not a publicity stunt to raise awareness about the rights of immigrants.

And he says it was worth the risk: “I came down there last Thursday, before knowing what was going to happen, because I wanted to look in the eyes of those children and I wanted to make a statement that when you see those children, you think of possibility. We talk about them as if they’re insects on our backs. What’s happening right now is not only a humanitarian crisis, it’s a moral crisis.”

Guest


Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
Spotlight

We now have a digital bookshelf! Explore all our books coverage or browse by genre.

Robin and Jeremy

Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson host Here & Now, a live two-hour production of NPR and WBUR Boston.

February 26 35 Comments

That Political Bumper Sticker Could Cost You Your Job

In most states in the country, labor laws will not protect you from getting fired over a political bumper sticker.

February 26 3 Comments

Remote Mexican Villages Build Their Own Cell Networks

Thanks to cheaper technology, community organizers and computer hackers are bypassing the big cell companies.

February 25 Comment

DJ Sessions: New Music From Nashville

For this week's DJ Session, Marcia Campbell shares songs from Teea Goans, Reba McEntire, Chris Stapleton and Earls of Leicester.

February 25 108 Comments

Feminist Gamer Withdraws From PAX East, Citing Safety Concerns

Video game developer Brianna Wu discusses the threats against her and her role as a feminist leader amid the Gamergate controversy.