How immigrants are redefining 'American' in Southern California

Readers react to the confession of an undocumented Pulitzer winner

Photo by Campus Progress/Flickr (Creative Commons)

Jose Antonio Vargas during a panel appearance in July 2008, the year he and other Washington Post reporters shared a Pulitzer for coverage of the Virginia Tech shooting.

It's not an overstatement to say that the story of Jose Antonio Vargas, a Pulitzer-winning former Washington Post journalist who has admitted to being undocumented, has made its way around the world by now, from Europe to the Philippines.

In a confessional essay published yesterday in the New York Times Magazine, Vargas related how his mother sent him to the United States from the Philippines at age 12 with a smuggler, how he learned he was undocumented at 16 and how he has kept the secret since, navigating school and career with a network of close confidantes, false papers and an out-of-state driver's license.

The story spread quickly through social media channels, prompting reactions that have ranged from intense anger to applause. Pundits, even former employers have weighed in with their opinions, including San Francisco Chronicle Editor Phil Bronstein, who once employed Vargas and wrote about being "duped" before saying that he hoped the story would at least "help craft sane immigration policy."