Elmhurst College: Journalist Talks About Life as an Undocumented Immigrant

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Journalist Talks About Life as an Undocumented Immigrant

Over 15 years as a working journalist, Jose Antonio Vargas has interviewed some of the most accomplished people in America, worked for The New Yorker and The Washington Post, and shared in a Pulitzer Prize. For 14 of those years, he hid the fact that he is an undocumented immigrant, “living in a different kind of reality, relying on a sort of 21st-century underground railroad of supporters, people who took an interest in my future and took risks for me.”

Vargas spoke about his undocumented life at Elmhurst College on March 7, 2013, as part of the College’s Rudolf G. Schade Lecture Series. The day before his lecture at Elmhurst, he appeared on Chicago Public Radio’s The Morning Shift.

Vargas was writing for some of the most prestigious news organizations in the country, including The Washington Post, Rolling Stone and The New Yorker. In 2007, the daily journal Politico named him one of the 50 Politicos To Watch. All the while, Vargas was leading a double life.

In the summer of 2011, 18 years after arriving in the United States, Vargas exposed his story in his groundbreaking essay, "My Life as an Undocumented Immigrant," for the New York Times Magazine.

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