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Jose Antonio Vargas: ‘Not just about me’

Saturday, June 25, 2011

imageNow that he’s no longer employed by a news gathering organization and has turned full-time advocate for immigration reform, what does one call newly-declared illegal immigrant Jose Antonio Vargas? That’s part of the delicate material pored over by NPR’s Michele Norris in a long (12 minutes) interview with the Pulitzer Prize-winning former Washington Post reporter (and one-time Chronicle intern) on “All Things Considered.” An excerpt:

Norris: “As you know there are millions of illegal immigrants in the U.S., and tens of thousands of them could potentially be eligible for citizenship, or at least a path to citizenship, under the DREAM Act. Is doing what you’ve done the best way to help their cause?

“And I ask this with someone in mind. I was listening to AM radio this morning and I heard a caller who identified herself as an undocumented person – in fact she used the word ‘illegal’ to talk about her own self – and she said, this is going to make him – you, Jose Antonio Vargas – rich and famous. He’ll get a book contract, he’ll maybe even get a movie deal. She asked the question, ‘What about me, how does this help me?’ Does she have a point?”

Vargas: “She totally has a point, and this is totally about her. This much I promise you: As I move forward with this, I will certainly make sure that this does not just become the Jose Antonio Vargas show. The media’s going to try to do that, for the next few days and weeks. But as long as I’m doing this, I’m going to make sure this is not just about me.”

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