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Oct 20th
Home Sections Politics U.S. Congressman Backs Jose Antonio Vargas
U.S. Congressman Backs Jose Antonio Vargas PDF Print E-mail
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Sections - Politics
Tuesday, 28 June 2011 17:59



(© 2011 Journal Group Link International)



C HICAGO (jGLi) – A United States Member of the House of Representatives has joined the “underground network” of supporters of Jose Antonio Vargas, the Filipino recipient of Pulitzer Prize, who outed himself as an undocumented immigrant to support the passage of DREAM Act.


Congressman Luis V. Gutierrez, (D-IL-4th) said, “Jose Antonio Vargas’s story is compelling and will hopefully open the eyes of lawmakers and the general public. Why would we want to deport this young leader? How are we better off without his talents? Who are we helping if we send him away? Certainly not ourselves.”

In an email to this reporter, Douglas G. Rivlin, press secretary of Congressman Gutierrez, said, “Thanks for the inquiry.  The Congressman read Jose Antonio Vargas' story when it was published on-line last week.  He is hoping to meet him in person and learn more about Define American sometime in the near future, maybe next week if we are able to set it up.”


In his essay that appeared in the New York Times Magazine last week, Mr. Vargas referred to a network of his “underground” supporters, including his grandfather, grandmother, former high school teachers and editors, who helped him realized his American Dream of winning the Pulitzer Prize, the most coveted award among journalists.


Mr. Gutierrez statement comes in the heels of the U.S. Senate first-ever committee hearing Tuesday (June 28) of the DREAM Act presided over by Assistant Senate Majority Leader Dick Durbin (Dem.-IL). Other leaders, who voiced support for this bill on the eve of the hearing, were former Clinton and Obama official, Rahm Emanuel, now Chicago mayor, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and Margaret Stock, a former professor at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.




G utierrez, Chicago Alderman Danny Solis and 30 elected officials will hold Thursday (June 30) a “Unity Rally” in Chicago at Teamster Hall at 300 South Ashland, urging President Barack Obama to “protect our families” and to “stop deporting DREAM students, stop separating families and reform Secure Communities” program. The rally is spearheaded by the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights (, according to a news alert distributed by Dr. Theresa Mah, Ph.D., Policy Consultant of the Coalition for a Better Chinese American Community (CBCAC).


In a statement, Caroline Weisser of the Mayor’s Press office quoted Mayor Emanuel as saying, “We must pass the DREAM Act so that promising, hard-working young people who came to this country as children can contribute to our society. As the son and grandson of immigrants and Mayor of the diverse, vibrant city of Chicago, I know first-hand that new Americans make our country strong. Passing the DREAM Act will bolster our economy, create jobs, and strengthen the U.S. armed forces.”


"The DREAM Act will enhance military readiness by substantially enlarging the pool of American-educated young people who are eligible for military service,” said former professor at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point Margaret Stock. “As the US population ages and the cohort of military-age youth shrinks, DREAM will ensure that America can continue to maintain its All Volunteer Force. DREAM also allows these Americanized youth to put their talents to work to serve America, rather than forcing them to serve foreign governments, foreign militaries, and other foreign organizations."


In addition to its benefits for the nation, DREAM is widely popular. A poll from Opinion Research Corporation about the DREAM Act in June 2010 found that 70% of likely voters support DREAM, including 60% support from Republican likely voters. The DREAM Act passed in the House last December but fell thru in the Senate.





T he DREAM Act allows children of undocumented immigrants who have lived in the United States for at least five years, graduated from high school, and are of good moral character the opportunity to earn citizenship by pursuing a higher education or by serving in the U.S. military and undergoing a rigorous process that includes background checks and other requirements over several years. It is estimated that each year, 65,000 young people graduate from high school in the U.S. who find themselves unable to work, join the military or go to college because of their immigration status. Approximately 800,000 young people would be eligible for the DREAM Act upon passage.


Before outing himself, Vargas started a campaign called Define American, where he's spotlighting immigrants' stories.


Jose Vargas is the fifth Filipino to win the Pulitzer. The first was Carlos P. Romulo, who wrote a series predicting the outbreak of World War II. Three other Filipino-American media practitioners won it: Byron Acohido won its best-beat reporting; Alex Tizon for best investigative reporting; and Cheryl Diaz Meyer for news photography category in 2004 for her work in Iraq. # # #


Editor’s Note: To contact the author, please e-mail him at: (

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