Jose Antonio Vargas

  • Aired:  07/14/11
  •  | Views: 23,266

Jose Antonio Vargas explains which is more difficult: coming out of the closet as a gay man or as a border gay. (6:18)

>> Stephen: WELCOME BACK,

EVERYBODY.

MY GUEST TONIGHT IS A PULITZER

PRIZE WINNING JOURNALIST WHO

RECENTLY ADMITTED HE'S AN

ILLEGAL IMMIGRANT, SO I WILL PAY

HIM HALF OF THE NOTHING I PAY MY

GUESTS.

PLEASE WELCOME JOSE ANTONIO

VARGAS.

[CHEERING AND APPLAUSE]

HEY.

MR. VARGAS, THANKS SO MUCH FOR

COMING ON.

ALL RIGHT, SIR.

YOU ARE A JOURNALIST, TRUE?

>> YES, YES, I AM.

>> Stephen: SAN FRANCISCO

CHRONICLE, NEW YORKER,

WASHINGTON POST, PART OF THE

POST'S PULITZER PRIZE WINNING

TEA PARTY FOR COVERAGE OF THE

VIRGINIA TECH MASSACRE, AND IN

JUNE YOU WROTE AN ESSAY FOR THE

"TIMES" MAGAZINE ENTITLED "MY

LIFE AS AN UNDOCUMENTED

IMMIGRANT."

YOU'RE ABILLEGAL ALIEN.

>> NEW YORK I'M UNDOCUMENTED.

>> Stephen: YOU'RE WHAT WE IN

THE AMERICAN WORLD CALLED "AN

ILLEGAL."

YOU'RE AN ILLEGAL.

I THINK I'VE BROKEN THE LAW JUST

HAVING YOU IN MY STUDIO.

[LAUGHTER]

>> NO, THIS IS ACTUALLY AN

IMPORTANT POINT.

I DON'T WANT LIKE A 12-YEAR-OLD

SITTING IN MIDDLE SCHOOL

SOMEWHERE IN AMERICA THINKING

THAT HE OR SHE IS ILLEGAL.

HUMAN BEINGS ARE...

>> Stephen: THE COPS ARE

COMING FROM YOU, JUNIOR.

PUT A CHAIR IN FRONT OF THE

DOORKNOB BECAUSE THE FEDERALES

ARE COMING.

YOU CAME FROM MEXICO, RIGHT?

>> NO, NO, I'M FROM THE

PHILIPPINES.

>>

>> Stephen: THAT'S WARMER

MEXICO.

YOU GET YOUR SOMBRERO, YOU

PADDLE OVER HERE TO TAKE

AMERICAN JOBS.

>> NO, SIR.

STEEP OPEN THE WHAT HAPPENED?

WHAT'S YOUR STORY?

>> BASICALLY MY MOM SENT ME TO

AMERICA WHEN I WAS 12 TO VISIT

MY GRANDPARENTS.

AND IT WAS...

>> Stephen: WAS THAT LEGAL?

>> I THOUGHT IT WAS LEGAL.

I THOUGHT EVERYTHING WAS FINE.

>> Stephen: YOU THOUGHT.

>> I THOUGHT.

I WAS 12678 WHEN I WAS 16, I

WENT TO THE D.M.V. TO GET MY

DRIVER'S PERMIT.

WHEN I SHOWED HER MY GREEN CARD.

SHE FLIPPED IT AROUND AND SAID

IT'S FAKE, DON'T COME BACK HERE

AGAIN.

THAT'S WHEN I FOUND OUT.

AS A LOT OF OTHER UNDOCUMENTED

KIDS FIND OUT.

THEY DON'T FIND OUT.

>> Stephen: THAT'S SHOCKING.

SOMEONE AT THE D.M.V. WAS NICE

TO YOU.

>> YES.

>> Stephen: THAT'S UNHEARD OF.

[APPLAUSE]

>> TO THIS DAY, CURLY HAIR,

GLASSES.

I DO NOT KNOW HER NAME.

TO THIS DAY I WISH I COULD GIVE

HER A REALLY, REALLY BIG HUG

BECAUSE, YEAH, I OWE KIND OF A

LOT TO HER.

SHE WAS ONE OF THE FIRST PEOPLE

IN MY LIFE, THE SECOND ONE WAS

MY CHOIR TEACHER, SHE WAS FIRST

ADULT I TOLD AT SCHOOL BECAUSE

SHE WANTED THE CHOIR TO GO JAPAN

FOR A TOUR.

AND I TOLD HER I COULDN'T GO AND

SHE SAID, WELL, WHY NOT.

I SAID I DIDN'T HAVE THE

PASSPORT.

SHE SAID, I'LL GET YOU THE RIGHT

PASSPORT.

WHEN I TOLD HER I WAS

UNDOCUMENTED, SHE SAID THE NEXT

DAY, THE CLASS WAS GOING TO GO

TO HAWAII INSTEAD OF JAPAN.

>> Stephen: WOW.

>> HER NAME IS MRS. DENNY.

>> Stephen: YOU RUINED THEIR

TRIP.

[LAUGHTER]

YOU RUINED A LIFE-CHANGING TRIP

FOR THOSE KIDS.

>> I OWE THAT CLASS, TO THIS

DAY, THEY DON'T KNOW WHY THEY

HAD TO GO TO HAWAII INSTEAD OF

JAPAN, BUT MRS. DENNY, THAT

WAS... SHE'S BEEN A PART OF IT.

I'VE BEEN REFERRING TO IT AS...

REFERRING TO HER AS PART OF MY

21st CENTURY UNDERGROUND

RAILROAD.

TEACHERS, PASTORS.

>> Stephen: THAT'S THE

PROBLEM.

THAT'S THE PROBLEM.

>> WHY IS THAT A PROBLEM?

>> Stephen: LISTEN TO ME,

BECAUSE SHE ENABLED A CRIME.

OKAY.

>> NO.

>> Stephen: THERE ARE PEOPLE

OUT THERE WHO ARE ENABLING GUYS

LIKE YOU TO STAY IN THE UNITED

STATES.

>> YES.

>> Stephen: SKIP THE NORMAL

PROCESS.

>> BUT AS YOU KNOW, EVEN YOUR

PRESIDENT, GEORGE W. BUSH, HE

KNEW THAT THE IMMIGRATION SYSTEM

WAS BROKEN IN 2006 WHEN HE GAVE

A PRIME TIME SPEECH ON.

THIS SO PEOPLE LIKE HIM HAVE

SAID THAT THE SYSTEM IS BROKEN.

>> Stephen: THAT'S WHY WE

VOTED HIM OUT OF OFFICE, SIR.

THAT'S WHY WE VOTED BUSH OUT OF

OFFICE.

MADE A HUGE MISTAKE, THERE.

SO WHY DID YOU FINALLY COME OUT

OF THE CLOSET AS AN ILLEGAL

ALIEN.

>> AS AN UNDOCUMENTED IMMIGRANT.

>> Stephen: WHATEVER.

BY THE WAY, YOU'RE ALSO A GAY

MAN.

>> YES, I AM.

>> Stephen: WHICH WAS HARDER

COMING OUT OF THE CLOSET, A GAY

MAN OR AS A BORDER GAY?

THAT'S WHAT IT'S CALLED.

THAT'S EXACTLY THE TERM.

BORDER GAY.

>> WE LIVE IN A GREAT COUNTRY

THAT DOESN'T DEPORT GAY PEOPLE,

SO I'M VERY, VERY PAPI ABOUT

THAT.

I DECIDED TO COME FORWARD

BECAUSE I E-MAIL ONE OF 11

MILLION UNDOCUMENTED PEOPLE IN

THIS COUNTRY.

I CAME OUT HERE TONIGHT.

IN THE SPAN OF TWO DAYS; 0,000

PEOPLE HAVE PLEDGED TO TALK

ABOUT IMMIGRATION IN A DIFFERENT

WAY.

WE CAME HERE TO SAY THAT WHEN WE

TALK ABOUT UNDOCUMENTED

IMMIGRANTS, ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION,

WE NEED TO GET THE POLITICS OUT

OF IT AND REALLY TALK ABOUT HOW

BROKEN THE SYSTEM IS.

YOU KNOW IT'S BROKEN.

>>

>> Stephen: I DON'T KNOW THAT

IT'S BROKEN.

IT'S WORKING FOR ME BECAUSE MY

JOB IS TO ARGUE ABOUT IT, AND IT

SEEMS TO BE WORKING FOR ME.

>> THERE'S BEEN ENOUGH ARGUING

GOING ON.

THERE'S BEEN ENOUGH ARGUING

GOING ON AND NOT ENOUGH

SOLUTIONS.

>> Stephen: YOU HAVE AN

ORGANIZATION CALLED...

>> DEFINE AMERICAN DOT COM.

>> Stephen: WHAT DO YOU MEAN?

WHAT IS THE PURPOSE OF "DEFINE

AMERICAN."

THAT SOUNDS AGGRESSIVE, YOU'RE

NOT AMERICAN.

YOU'RE GOING, DEFINE AMERICAN.

>> NO, NO, ACTUALLY IT'S THE

EXACT OPPOSITE.

IT'S THE ONE THAT TELLS US,

UNDOCUMENTED OR NOT, I GREW UP

HERE.

I'VE BEEN HERE SINCE I WAS 12.

I'M AN AMERICAN.

I DON'T HAVE THE RIGHT KINDS OF

PAPERS.

MILLIONS OF PEOPLE HAVE BEEN

CONTRIBUTING, PAYING TAXES TO

THIS COUNTRY AND WHO DESERVE TO

BE PART OF THIS COUNTRY.

>> YOU'RE NOT AN AMERICAN

CITIZEN, BUT WOULD YOU LIKE TO

BECOME A CITIZEN OF OUR NATION?

>> WHAT WOULD THAT ENTAIL?

>> Stephen: OBVIOUSLY I'D HAVE

TO SWEAR YOU IN.

>> OKAY.

>> Stephen: RAISE YOUR RIGHT

HAND.

NOW RAISE YOUR LEFT HAND.

NOW GO TURN YOURSELF INTO THE

AUTHORITIES.

[APPLAUSE]

THANK YOU SO MUCH.

THANK YOU.

DEFINE AMERICAN FOUNDER JOSE

VARGAS.

WE'LL BE RIGHT BACK.

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