As we celebrate our country's birthday and reflect on how we define American, I'd like to honor the heroes in my life. They are members of my personal underground railroad who refuse to sit back and allow undocumented immigrants to slip into the cracks of a broken system.
Jose Vargas' essay is a defiant narrative of one man who seeks to live his life in all its complexity, with the same rights and responsibilities as his friend who doesn't have to worry about the authenticity of his identification forms.
The conversation over illegal immigration seems to have been hijacked by two extreme positions: Those who believe that all illegal immigrants should be deported, and those who believe that all illegal immigrants deserve a path to citizenship. Both sides are wrong.
For every Jose Antonio Vargas, we are very likely to encounter DREAMers who are not near the top of their class, but they are here at any rate because their parents are dreamers as well. Their parents' dreams may appear simple and clichéd, but they are honest and true.
Jose Antonio Vargas is incredibly brave to risk everything he has accomplished in this country in order to tell the truth and to shine yet another light on the pressing need for comprehensive immigration reform in this country.
This weekend, Harlem United is hosting a viewing of The Other City at the Clearview Chelsea Cinema. This incredible documentary profiles the lives of people living with HIV amidst a staggering epidemic in Washington, D.C.