Friday, March 22, 2013
Jose Antonio Vargas, a journalist, filmmaker, and the founder of the immigration awareness organization Define American, is the 2013 recipient of The Ridenhour Prize for Truth-Telling. In June 2011, against the advice of several immigration lawyers, he came out as an undocumented American in a stunning and groundbreaking essay, “My Life as an Undocumented Immigrant,” in the New York Times Magazine. In it, he revealed how he came to the United States from the Philippines as a 12-year-old boy to join his grandparents, both naturalized citizens, in California. At the age of 16, he discovered that his green card was fake when he went to the DMV to get a driver’s permit. The clerk examined his residency card and then whispered to him that it was a fake and that he shouldn’t come back again.