Jose Antonio Vargas, a Pulitzer prize-winning reporter who has worked for the Washington Post and Huffington Post, has revealed that he is an illegal alien. Vargas came out as an illegal alien as part of a coordinated media campaign with the New York Times and ABC News seeking amnesty for illegal aliens like himself.
Vargas also revealed that he breached White House security by using a fake ID, including when he covered a state dinner. And that a superior at the Washington Post knew and approved of his actions.
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Vargas made the revelations in an article he authored that was published in the upcoming New York Times Sunday Magazine.
Vargas writes that at age 12 he was sent to America from the Philippines by his mother to live with his naturalized American citizen grandparents. His grandfather Lolo repeatedly broke the law to get Vargas in the U.S. and to keep him here, Vargas writes.
One day when I was 16, I rode my bike to the nearby D.M.V. office to get my driver’s permit. Some of my friends already had their licenses, so I figured it was time. But when I handed the clerk my green card as proof of U.S. residency, she flipped it around, examining it. “This is fake,” she whispered. “Don’t come back here again.”
Confused and scared, I pedaled home and confronted Lolo. I remember him sitting in the garage, cutting coupons. I dropped my bike and ran over to him, showing him the green card. “Peke ba ito?” I asked in Tagalog. (“Is this fake?”) My grandparents were naturalized American citizens — he worked as a security guard, she as a food server — and they had begun supporting my mother and me financially when I was 3, after my father’s wandering eye and inability to properly provide for us led to my parents’ separation. Lolo was a proud man, and I saw the shame on his face as he told me he purchased the card, along with other fake documents, for me. “Don’t show it to other people,” he warned…
…The “uncle” who brought me here turned out to be a coyote, not a relative, my grandfather later explained. Lolo scraped together enough money — I eventually learned it was $4,500, a huge sum for him — to pay him to smuggle me here under a fake name and fake passport. (I never saw the passport again after the flight and have always assumed that the coyote kept it.) After I arrived in America, Lolo obtained a new fake Filipino passport, in my real name this time, adorned with a fake student visa, in addition to the fraudulent green card.
Using the fake passport, we went to the local Social Security Administration office and applied for a Social Security number and card. It was, I remember, a quick visit. When the card came in the mail, it had my full, real name, but it also clearly stated: “Valid for work only with I.N.S. authorization.”
When I began looking for work, a short time after the D.M.V. incident, my grandfather and I took the Social Security card to Kinko’s, where he covered the “I.N.S. authorization” text with a sliver of white tape. We then made photocopies of the card. At a glance, at least, the copies would look like copies of a regular, unrestricted Social Security card.
Later, with the help of sympathetic teachers, Vargas obtained a driver’s license in Oregon using subterfuge and a fake Social Security card.
Vargas parlayed his illegally obtained identification documents into a job at the Washington Post. He writes he confided in a superior, Peter Perl, who allowed him to continue working at the Post as an illegal alien in violation of the law.
About four months into my job as a reporter for The Post, I began feeling increasingly paranoid, as if I had “illegal immigrant” tattooed on my forehead — and in Washington, of all places, where the debates over immigration seemed never-ending. I was so eager to prove myself that I feared I was annoying some colleagues and editors — and worried that any one of these professional journalists could discover my secret. The anxiety was nearly paralyzing. I decided I had to tell one of the higher-ups about my situation. I turned to Peter.
By this time, Peter, who still works at The Post, had become part of management as the paper’s director of newsroom training and professional development. One afternoon in late October, we walked a couple of blocks to Lafayette Square, across from the White House. Over some 20 minutes, sitting on a bench, I told him everything: the Social Security card, the driver’s license, Pat and Rich, my family.
Peter was shocked. “I understand you 100 times better now,” he said. He told me that I had done the right thing by telling him, and that it was now our shared problem. He said he didn’t want to do anything about it just yet. I had just been hired, he said, and I needed to prove myself. “When you’ve done enough,” he said, “we’ll tell Don and Len together.” (Don Graham is the chairman of The Washington Post Company; Leonard Downie Jr. was then the paper’s executive editor.) A month later, I spent my first Thanksgiving in Washington with Peter and his family.
In the five years that followed, I did my best to “do enough.” I was promoted to staff writer, reported on video-game culture, wrote a series on Washington’s H.I.V./AIDS epidemic and covered the role of technology and social media in the 2008 presidential race. I visited the White House, where I interviewed senior aides and covered a state dinner — and gave the Secret Service the Social Security number I obtained with false documents. [my emphasis]
Vargas writes that he explored his legal options when he was younger. When told he would have to leave the U.S. and be banned from returning for ten years, he opted to break the law. Now he is running a propaganda campaign for illegal aliens with help from his friends in the media.
A big concern though, is the security breach at the White House of someone using falsified documents to gain access to the president. Jeff Gannon was crucified by liberals and the media for using a pseudonym, but not fake documents, when he was a White House reporter. There were calls for Congressional investigations into how Gannon gained access to the White House, even though Gannon used his given name, James Guckert, to obtain clearance to enter the White House.
Vargas’ case, however, does cry out for investigations and prosecutions. Who else is in the media is using fake identification documents to gain access to the White House and the president? Who else has the Washington Post helped breach government security with fake credentials?
Late in the day Wednesday, details of the machinations behind the political/media campaign of Vargas’ story came out.
The Washington Post published an article, Post responds to ex-reporter Vargas’s revelation that he’s an illegal immigrant, by Paul Farhi. The article failed to address the national security concerns of one of the nation’s leading newspapers knowingly sending an illegal alien with falsified identification documents to report from the White House.
The Post was working with Vargas to publish his article about his being an illegal alien. After fact checking and editing, the Post got cold feet when it learned Vargas was still not being truthful.
Given the subject — a reporter’s dishonesty about his personal life — The Post subjected Vargas’s story to an unusual degree of scrutiny. One red flag popped up during weeks of checking: Vargas hadn’t disclosed that he had replaced his expired Oregon driver’s license with a new one issued by Washington state (the license had enabled Vargas to pass airport security and to travel to distant work assignments). Vargas later conceded that he had withheld the information on the advice of his attorney. The disclosure set off internal discussion about whether the newspaper was getting the full story from its former reporter.
In a brief interview Wednesday, Vargas declined to discuss the matter. “I made a decision that I wouldn’t get into [discussing details about the story] at the end of the day,” he said. “I wanted The Post to run the story. They had to do what they had to do and so did I.”
Vargas then contacted editors at the New York Times magazine. The newspaper found his story so compelling after seeing a copy Wednesday, just 48 hours before the magazine’s June 26 issue was to close, that its editors decided to rush the article into print.
Politico’s article on the Vargas story, Why did Post kill Jose Vargas story? by Keach Hagey, provides background on the public relations effort behind Vargas, but again fails to report on the national security implications. The article does report that Vargas and his political team are working with his colleagues in the major media to promote his political agenda.
The campaign, now officially known as Define American, began taking shape in March, and by April, Vargas and his cohorts had hired Hiltzik Strategies – strategic communications advisors to stars like Glenn Beck and Katie Couric – to handle their media.
…(Jehmu) Greene (one of the co-founders, with Vargas, of Define American) said Vargas’s story is simply the beginning of a sustained campaign to make immigration a key issue in the 2012 presidential and congressional elections.
“We have a strong desire to shift the conversation from the very typical 24-hour news cycle coverage of immigration that currently exists, to use all of Jose’s expertise as a journalist, and to bring support from his colleagues, to change how they cover it as an issue and not have it be so polarizing,” she said. “So we are sharing Jose’s story as an effort to get others to share their stories.”
Vargas also worked with ABC News on his campaign. The network’s interviews with him are scheduled to air Thursday on World News Tonight and Nightline, and Friday on Good Morning America.
While the Post opted to not publish Vargas’ article, the paper decided to publish a series of staged propaganda photos of Vargas a Post photographer took to accompany the now killed article.
Vargas is hoping to become the poster boy for the DREAM Act. That may be, but he is also facing becoming the poster boy for Americans sick of arrogant criminal aliens stealing the American dream from American citizens and legal aliens.
Vargas’ breach of security at the White House ought to be of concern to every American regardless of their position on amnesty for illegal aliens.