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Undocumented immigrant, Jose Vargas, speaks in North Carolina

A North Carolina college hosted a public speaker on a recent Tuesday evening who brought audience members to their feet in applause. Jose Antonio Vargas is a noted journalist and filmmaker who also happens to be an undocumented immigrant. He reportedly revealed his undocumented status in a 4,000 word essay, published in 2011.

The activist for immigration reform told audience members that Americans need to broaden their minds when it comes to defining America. He stated that focusing on physical borders and discriminating against those who lack legitimized statuses are impediments to progress in American society. He further advised his listeners to think in more inclusive terms when it comes to issues of immigration.

According to data provided through an immigration policy center, there were approximately 750,000 immigrants residing in North Carolina in 2013. More than 30 percent of those residents were naturalized citizens of the United States. The speaker shared his opinions, stating that the federal government has supposedly spent billions on border security while hard-working undocumented workers and business owners face daily struggles and challenges due to their illegitimate statuses in America. He encouraged undocumented student immigrants in the audience to look past the pieces of paper and overcome stereotypes.

The journalist was reportedly arrested in 2014, after living and working under an undocumented status in the United States for 21 years, when he attempted to board a flight that was preparing to cross a Texas border. He was later released and is currently said to be filming a new documentary, highlighting the prejudices faced by the average undocumented immigrant in America. North Carolina residents who wish to pursue legitimization of their statuses or seek further information on any number of topics pertaining to an undocumented immigrant status may wish to seek counsel from an attorney with experience in immigration and naturalization law.

Source:, "Immigration reform activist calls on WNC to redefine 'American'", Beth Walton, April 2, 2015

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