Jose Antonio Vargas
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Jose Antonio Vargas is a journalist, filmmaker and the founder of Define American, an independent campaign that elevates the immigration conversation through media and culture. In June 2013 his latest film, “Documented,” premiered at the American Film Institute's AFI Docs festival in Washington, D.C.

Vargas has been a journalist for over a decade, writing for some of the most prestigious news organizations in the country, including the San Francisco Chronicle, the Huffington Post and the Washington Post, where he was part of the team that won a Pulitzer Prize for covering the 2007 massacre at Virginia Tech. He’s covered a wide range of issues, from technology’s and social media’s impact in politics, the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the nation’s capital and the historic 2008 presidential campaign. His 2006 series on AIDS in Washington, D.C. inspired a feature-length documentary ,“The Other City,” which he co-produced and wrote. It world premiered at the 2010 Tribeca Film Festival and aired on Showtime. In the fall of 2010, Vargas wrote an exclusive profile of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg for The New Yorker.

Shortly thereafter, stunning the media and political circles and attracting world-wide coverage, Vargas then told the biggest journalistic story of his career: himself. In the landmark essay for the New York Times Magazine titled "My Life as an Undocumented Immigrant," published in June 2011, he revealed his undocumented status. A year later, Vargas popularized the term “undocumented Americans” in describing the country’s population of 11 undocumented immigrants in a June 2012 cover story for TIME magazine titled “WE ARE AMERICANS* (*Just not legally).”

Entries by Jose Antonio Vargas

Mark Zuckerberg, il primo Millennial fra i nostri Ad

(0) Comments | Posted December 2, 2015 | 11:25 AM

Come tutti gli imprenditori più influenti e dalla natura complessa, il cofondatore di Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg rappresenta tante cose diverse per tante persone. Ma prima di tutto, lui è il primo amministratore delegato Millennial del nostro giovane secolo.

Un dato, questo, palesemente trascurato - per...

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Defining American on Memorial Day

(7) Comments | Posted May 25, 2014 | 3:09 PM

Like countless Americans this Memorial Day weekend, I am thankful for the brave and courageous men and women of the military who died while serving the United States.

And as an undocumented immigrant who was born in the Philippines but grew up in the United States, I think of the...

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'Documented,' an Immigration Documentary By an Undocumented American, Comes to Hawaii

(3) Comments | Posted October 16, 2013 | 8:35 AM

Among the first results when you Google "Hawaii illegal immigration" is this question on Yahoo! Answers: "Can an illegal alien travel to Hawaii?"


In fact, as I write this, I am on my way to the Aloha State to participate at this year's Hawaii International Film...

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'I Have a Dream': An Undocumented Immigrant Version

(156) Comments | Posted August 28, 2013 | 4:42 PM

To me, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s speech during the historic March in Washington -- given 50 years ago today -- stands tall alongside the Declaration of Independence, the phrase "I have a dream" as intrinsic and essential to the American spirit as the promise that "all men...

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What Would You Ask an Undocumented Immigrant?

(76) Comments | Posted April 2, 2013 | 7:10 AM

Immigration is the most controversial but least understood issue in America.

I've arrived at that conclusion after nearly two years of traveling across the country as an openly gay undocumented immigrant -- or, as I often describe myself to people I meet, "an American without papers." Born in...

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This Is Beyonce's Super Bowl

(104) Comments | Posted February 3, 2013 | 3:04 PM

Three facts, all interconnected, will prove indisputable on Super Bowl XLVII, aka Beyoncé's largest concert.

Beyoncé will break the Internet. No pop star -- not even tweet-happy, "little-monster"mommy Lady Gaga -- attracts the kind of attention, love and hate, that Queen Bey does online. This is a performer, after all,...

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What Does It Mean To Be An American?

(732) Comments | Posted July 4, 2012 | 10:13 AM

Today's Fourth of July holiday, our country's birthday, marks a new beginning for undocumented Americans like me.

Last month, TIME magazine featured an unprecedented photograph of 36 undocumented young people, myself included, on the cover of its U.S. and international editions. "We are Americans," the headline declared. "Just...

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Our Facebook -- Led by Mark Zuckerberg, We Define an Era

(23) Comments | Posted May 14, 2012 | 11:56 AM

In our increasingly open, more connected, borderless digital era -- the Facebook era -- Mark Zuckerberg follows as much as he leads.

There's no doubt that the Facebook founder and CEO, who turns 28 today, defines a generation. But this is not a one-way street....

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Gay Marriage and a New American Majority

(477) Comments | Posted May 11, 2012 | 7:02 PM

Amid the flood of coverage on President Obama's endorsement of gay marriage is a historical fact that warrants close attention: the country's first minority president, a son and student of the civil rights movement, openly addressing the need for full rights for another minority group fighting its own civil rights...

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Audra McDonald: The Best Singer You Don't Know (But Should)

(27) Comments | Posted May 7, 2012 | 9:00 AM

Inspired by one professor's infectious enthusiasm for Emily Dickinson, Obsessed is a HuffPost Culture series exploring the idiosyncratic, all-consuming passions of public figures and unknowns alike. Through a mix of blogs and interviews, these pieces will highlight the elusiveness of whatever it is you just can't live without...

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SB 1070: How Do You Define American?

(879) Comments | Posted April 25, 2012 | 8:31 AM

America, as only America can, constantly renews itself.

That was chief in my mind as the crowded ferry left Battery Park, the southern tip of Manhattan, and headed toward the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. I live in New York City. My dear friends Karen and Matt, visiting from...

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How Do You Define American? Share Your Story

(479) Comments | Posted November 18, 2011 | 7:05 AM

Mine was merely one story, in which I chronicled my life as an undocumented immigrant for the New York Times Magazine. I'm just one person. From the very beginning, as I told The Guardian, "if I'm going to come out with this, I'm going to do...

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Jose Antonio Vargas: A DREAM Act Deferred?

(192) Comments | Posted September 1, 2011 | 3:06 PM

This piece comes to us courtesy of Education Nation’s The Learning Curve blog. Jose Antonio Vargas, Define American founder and former journalist for the San Francisco Chronicle, the Huffington Post and the Washington Post, writes.

[Ed. Note: On Wednesday, the California Senate passed AB131, one half of the...

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The America in Me

(158) Comments | Posted July 4, 2011 | 4:16 PM

"You've been trying to write yourself into America," my dear friend Teresa Moore said after she read an early draft of the essay I ended up submitting to the New York Times Magazine.

I first met Teresa in 1999, when I was a high school...

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Egypt, the Age of Disruption and the "Me"-in-Media

(31) Comments | Posted February 7, 2011 | 8:33 AM

A few months and seemingly a lifetime ago -- before the Oscar bait "The Social Network" hit theaters, before Time declared the Facebook cofounder and CEO "Person of the Year," before the Middle East and the Arab world were turned upside-down in a matter...

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Following the Tweets

(1) Comments | Posted January 9, 2011 | 11:42 AM

Being a news junkie takes on a whole new meaning -- and a lot more time -- in the age of Twitter.

I first read about the Tucson shootings from Twitter, as tweet after tweet streamed on my iPhone. At one point, after retweeting some messages, speculation was so high...

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Bearing Witness, A Tweet At A Time

(3) Comments | Posted December 13, 2010 | 5:34 AM

Online, using social media, we can become each others' witnesses.

Take Eric Sheptock, a former crack addict and now homeless advocate who is the subject of a remarkable story in today's Washington Post, written by Nathan Rott. It's one of the most insightful and...

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Mark Zuckerberg -- Our First Millennial CEO

(33) Comments | Posted December 9, 2010 | 9:46 AM

Like all influential and complex entrepreneurs, Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg is many things to many people. But he is, first and foremost, our young century's first Millennial CEO.

That's a fact that's been glaringly omitted -- not to mention profoundly misunderstood -- in everything that's been written and...

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Chris Hughes' Jumo: A Social Network for the Social Sector

(34) Comments | Posted November 30, 2010 | 8:30 AM

If everything goes according to Chris Hughes' plan, Nov. 30, 2010 will be remembered as a critical and celebrated moment for the multi-billion dollar nonprofit and charitable industry.

Earlier this morning, Hughes launched his latest project,, which the Facebook co-founder describes as a "social network for the...

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The Social Disconnect -- How Hollywood Misread Facebook

(936) Comments | Posted October 1, 2010 | 2:00 PM

Everything that's wrong about The Social Network is summed up by its title.

The movie, opening nationwide today, is not interested in the concept of social networking or the actual usage of Facebook. Aaron Sorkin, the film's writer, told me in my profile of Mark Zuckerberg for the...

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