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Jose Antonio Vargas Challenges Media To Cover Immigration Better

Joseantoniovargas

First Posted: 09/28/11 06:34 PM ET Updated: 11/28/11 05:12 AM ET

Jose Antonio Vargas, the journalist who shocked the country when he revealed he was an undocumented immigrant, has challenged the media to cover the debate around immigration more comprehensively.

Vargas, a Pulitzer-prize winning journalist and former editor at the Huffington Post, made headlines when he came out as an undocumented immigrant this past summer. Now, he aims to take on immigration reform, starting with changing what he believes is the one-dimensional nature of immigration coverage.

On Tuesday, Vargas lamented the media's "familiar story line" about undocumented immigrants: that they "are a drain on the struggling U.S. economy, taking away jobs from native workers and posing a threat to American culture and livelihood."

Vargas spoke with Charles Kenny, who penned a column for Bloomberg Businessweek arguing that hiring an undocumented immigrant is actually good for the U.S. economy. According to Kenny, covering immigration is "frustrating" and "annoying" from all different angles. For one thing, the positive side of illegal immigration is "politically dead in the water," he said, and for another, people often assume that the negative side is true.

Vargas called for focusing more on the stories that the mainstream media has not told, including those about "everyday Good Samaritans" who aid undocumented immigrants, teachers who must deal with the issue in their classrooms and "intersecting lives of undocumented and documented Americans."

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Filed by Katherine Fung  |