Jose Antonio Vargas, a Pulitzer-Prize winning journalist, said to students on Monday understanding diversity in the U.S. requires people to answer three simple questions: “Where did you come from? When did you come here? Who paid for you?”
Vargas came to the U.S. when he was 12. Five years ago, while working at the Washington Post, he revealed that he was an undocumented immigrant.
Vargas advocates for immigrants and the rights of undocumented immigrants. Vargas said he once refused to be legalized because his advocacy for the DREAM Act would have been in vain.
The DREAM ACT is the Dream Action Coalition founded by Vargas. Vargas is seeking to establish local, state and federal policies that secure fairness for the country’s diverse immigrant community without discrimination based on immigration status or national origin.
Vargas stressed that people should ask where their ancestors came from to know who they are. However, Vargas said many white people feel uncomfortable talking about race.
“People say that immigrants should be deported, yet they want to use them for cheap labor,” Vargas said. “The U.S cannot have it both ways.”
When he spoke earlier in the day to students in a class focused on diversity, Vargas was asked his thoughts on the argument that immigrants take Americans jobs.
“Immigrants are not taking away anybody’s job,” Vargas said. Vargas said the labor in which immigrants work is difficult and cheap, and American’s don’t want to do it.
Vargas is now working on a documentary titled EmergingUS that expresses all issues faced by non-white people.