Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Jose Antonio Vargas made headlines last year when he came out and publicly revealed himself to be an illegal alien living and working in the United States.
He has not been contacted by the government since making the announcement, which he argues was intended to make the point that illegal immigration is not being addressed.
Well, Vargas is stirring the immigration pot again and is featured on the cover of the latest issue of Time Magazine along with 35 other illegal aliens – who all name themselves in the article and tell their stories, CBS News reports. There are reportedly about 12 million illegal aliens living in the U.S.
He wants everyone to know that the American people just don’t understand this issue.
“We are not who you think we are,” Vargas said Thursday on “CBS This Morning.”
“To me, the power of this Time magazine cover is, you have 35 people here from 15 different countries, Mexico, Nigeria, Israel, Korea, Philippines. You know, when we think about illegal immigration, we seem think it’s all about Mexicans and the border. That’s not the reality.”
He is absolutely right about that. As many of our readers know, there are immigrants from all over the world pouring across our border.
During the interview, he was asked “How is that you are able to [get paid]?…you are an illegal immigrant.” Vargas disputed quickly, “an undocumented American actually.”
He went on to explain that he is able to be paid as an independent contractor just not as a salaried employee, the same way “undocumented Americans” working as construction workers or laborers are able to make a living.
“Ordinary Americans have such a profound misunderstanding and misperceptions about what this issue is,” Vargas said.
Vargas claims he and the 35 other “undocumented workers” now worry about being deported. “But what’s even more worrisome is not doing anything about it,” he added.
“At the end of the day, most people in my situation haven’t been encountered by the government. There’s 11.5 million of us, right? Most people have not been encountered,” Vargas told CBS This Morning. “… I am about as public as it comes on this. I’m on Twitter, I’m on Facebook. I’m on the corner of 14th and 6th in Manhattan.”
“We’re almost invisibly visible,” he continued. “You know we’re here. So allow us to come forward and say, ‘Hey, if you want us to pay our back taxes, if you want us to wait in some sort of line. If you want us to learn to speak English,’ … But give us the process that we can enter.”
Vargas also used the interview to bash Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney in a thinly veiled critique on conservatives who tend to be more strict when it comes to border security.
“I remember being in Iowa in Cedar Rapids and Mitt Romney telling the audience (that) people like me should get in the back of the line,” the journalist said. “Where is the line? If they can tell us where it is, if it’s in Times Square somewhere, I’ll go there right now. There is no line, there is no process.”
It doesn’t appear that Vargas is advocating for amnesty for all individuals, but instead advocating for a process that all immigrants can enter into.
Watch all of Vargas’ interview with CBS This Morning here:
This story has been updated.