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Oct 15th
Home Columns A Cup O' Kapeng Barako The "Noose Tightens" on Jose Antonio Vargas, the Pulitzer Prize Winning "TNT" Journalist
The "Noose Tightens" on Jose Antonio Vargas, the Pulitzer Prize Winning "TNT" Journalist PDF Print E-mail
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Columns - A Cup O' Kapeng Barako
Friday, 29 July 2011 20:17


By Jesse Jose

A Cup O' Kapeng Barako


L et's review: In a recent article in the Sunday magazine of The New York Times, Jose Antonio Vargas, a Filipino journalist revealed that he is an illegal alien, or a "tago ng tago" (TNT) in the the Filipino vernacular. And ever since that explosive revelation that reverberated in every Fil-Am communities here in America and Canada, the debate about him continues to heat up.


Washington State Cancels Driver's License of Ex-Reporter: That was the banner headline of a news report in the local section of The Seattle Times a few days ago.  And yes, indeed, the noose is tightening around the neck of Jose Antonio Vargas, the ILLEGAL IMMIGRANT and Pulitzer Prize winner that I wrote about in my previous Kapeng Barako columnn, titled "My Take on Jose Antonio Vargas, the Filipino TNT Pulitzer Prize Winner


If you have missed it and wish to read it, you may Google it.  Or click this:

 or simply go to  and then click "columns," and my column, "A Cup O' Kapeng Barako" right below it. 


As reported by The Seattle Times, the state of Washington has now canceled the driver's license of Vargas. A Washington state Department of Licensing spokesman said they canceled his license last week. And what that means that if caught driving by police, he will show up as not having a license at all. Vargas obtained his Washington driver's license by giving a fake local home address. 


What the police would do to him, I dunno. They'll probably arrest him right then and there and deport him, ha? 


In a piece he penned under the headline, "My Life As An Undocumented Immigrant," Jose Antonio Vargas laid bare details of a life built on lies that began with his arrival as a 12-year-old on a fake passport from the Philippines 18-years ago.


In his article, Vargas, who left the Philippines for America through fraudulent means, wrote how he kept his secret while employed with a series of news organizations, including The Washington Post, where he became PART OF A TEAM OF REPORTERS, who won a Pulitzer Prize in 2008 for investigative news reporting of the Virginia Tech shootings.


And this revelation to the NYT sparked debates and heated conversations around the divisive issues of immigration and renewed calls for President Obama to address it.


In a recent post in his web site,, Vargas wrote this and I quote portions of it:


"Just one week ago, I published an expose in The New York Times.  It was my life story.  I am an undocumented immigrant.  An OUTLAW in my own country.


"I've left my job as a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and come out about my immigration status because it's long past time to strike up a more civil inclusive debate about immigration in America.  It's a risk, but I have a UNIQUE story to tell, and I was tired of keeping silent.


"We may not agree on how to fix it," he continued, "but one thing we can all agree one is that our immigration debate is out of control and OUR IMMIGRATION SYSTEM IS BADLY BROKEN.  I believe not only that we can do better, but that we must....


Vargas also said that his "tale as a hard-working immigrant ... defines the American Dream achieving success against great odds, and even earning a Pulitzer Prize for my reporting.  Still, despite everything I've achieved, the law still says I am NOT TECHNICALLY an American."


He added, "I want to ask my FELLOW AMERICANS: What would you do, if you found out at age 16 that you didn't have the right papers.  As a JOURNALIST, my job is to ask questions that spark conversation.  Now I am asking you in that conversation.  We all have a story to tell, so let's talk. -- Jose


A REPLY FROM NICK VICERA: Perhaps you've read already this as a comment below my story last week.  But more likely, perhaps not, as it was not too "visible" to be read.  I want this reply of Mr. Vicera to Mr. Vargas Internet postings to reach all of my readers and as many as many people as possible.  So, here it is, Dear Readers. Enjoy. 


Jose ...


You are indeed an outlaw in this country, we call America.  Please do not take pride in being one.  I am a Filipino like you, and I am deeply shamed by your brazenness and deviousness.  Your actions in the past and in the present embarrass thousands of Filipino Americans who migrated to this country through honest, lawful ways.


America is NOT your "own" country as what you haughtily claimed to be.  She did not welcome you when you broke her borders.  She does not embrace people like you who rigged themselves with fake, unlawful papers.


You are NOT an "American" as what you arrogantly claimed to be and please do NOT be brazen enough to address Americans as your "fellow Americans."  Americans built their lives around respect for their laws and pursued the American Dream under the aegis of truthfulness and NOT dishonesty.  You are never one.


Your story is NOT "unique" as you claimed to be.  Your story has millions of authors -- the millions of illegal immigrants who broke America's borders like you, the millions who bought fake identity papers like you, the millions like you who stole government benefits that they knew they were and never entitled to.


America's immigration system is NOT "badly broken" as you claimed to be.  It is one of the finest in this planet.  It is only because of unscrupulous people like you that makes it appear as broken.  Jose, please respect our immigration system as we honestly did.  Please stop breaking it and please do not encourage more people to break it.


You want to start a conversation on what should one do if one found out that one is undocumented.  My answer to you, Jose, is that you go home to Manila and join thousand of Filipinos who are patiently waiting for their "call of welcome" from the U.S. Embassy in Manila.  I challenge you to do that, and when you have done that, only then can we start conversation and debate.


A applaud you for being a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist.  But I ask you NOT to selfishly exploit your feat to immune yourself from being an outlaw.  Journalism is always about truthfulness and never spinning it to one's personal advantage, so that fairness, the rule of law, and justice will stand supreme.


You know your own reason why you stepped out of the shadow only now.  You know that Obama is hard-pressed to get re-elected and that he will push the passage of the Dream Act, no matter what, to win the Hispanic votes.  You stepped out of the shadow when you think the landscape is about to favor you.


Jose, what you are doing is NOT journalism and candor.  It is opportunism and deceit.


Nick Vicera

Miami, Florida   


This reply of Nick Vicera was sent to me by a guy, who calls himself "Salvahey2" and this what he said to Jose Antonio Vargas, along with Vicera's letter.


My dear Jose,


There is not even the slightest legal basis to call yourself an American. I agree wholeheartedly with the accompanying reaction of Nick Vicera. The Unclean Hands Doctrine requires you to be devoid of any wrong doing when filing a lawsuit (or making a complaint against anybody -- individual or state).





Right on, Salvahey2!  And that Dear Readers is the other side of the coin on Jose Antonio Vargas' illegal status.


ON THE DEBT CEILING: Now, let's turn our attention to another issue that's more compelling to us, as Americans: The chaos in Congress about the debt ceiling.  So, do you think Congress will raise the U.S. debt ceiling on August 2nd?  It's only a few days away.


As y'all know, the national debt had hit the current $14.3-trillion limit in mid-May.  Thanks to President Obama's philosophy of SHARING THE WEALTH, America is now "in the hole."  Nalubog tayo sa utang. Now, unless Congress acts, the government will be in danger of default on paying its bills.


From what I understand the House Republicans and Senate Democrats are pressing competing, but similar plans in increasing America's borrowing limit.  The chief difference, according to news reports, is the size of the immediate increase in the debt limit. Harry Reid, the Senate's Democratic leader, said that a "$2.7-trillion debt increase would keep the government afloat into 2013."


While the House GOP, led by House Speaker John Boehner, wants only an "immediate $900 billion increase in the debt limit ... then $1.6-trillion more would be made available," after the enactment of up to $1.8-trillion in future spending cuts.


In other words, for Reid, ngayon na, umutang na tayo ng malaki.  For Boehner, hinay-hinay lang.  For Obama, it's "duh...."  Y'all get my drift?


For me, I ain't worried ... the debt ceiling would be raised.  Since the time of Roosevelt, the debt ceiling had been raised. When George W. Bush was the President, he raised the debt ceiling 13 times!  And Bill Clinton raised it 7 times!  So there. Don't worry. Be happy. Ipalista na lang ang utang ng Amerika sa Tsina.  And, let's continue on spreading the wealth, ha? 


Okey ngarud, that's all.  JJ

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Last Updated on Monday, 08 August 2011 19:43

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