Journalist Jose Antonio Vargas defended his decision to reveal that he is an undocumented immigrant in an interview with CNN's Howard Kurtz.
Vargas, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist who worked at outlets including the San Francisco Chronicle, Washington Post and The Huffington Post. caused a huge stir when he admitted in a New York Times Magazine essay that he is undocumented.
The fallout from the story was swift. Many praised Vargas for his risky decision, while others, such as his former editor, the Chronicle's Phil Bronstein, criticized him for not being honest with them.
Speaking to Kurtz on Sunday's "Reliable Sources," Vargas said that he ultimately felt he had no choice but to come forward.
"I'm one of millions of undocumented people in this country who are living kind of under the shadows," he said. "At the end of the day, I think we have to tell the truth about this immigration system. And because of that, I had to tell the truth about myself."
Kurtz said that Vargas had "deceived" his editors by not telling them about his status.
"I had to do what I had to do to work," Vargas responded. "...Whenever I did talk about it, people told me that I shouldn't be revealing it because then I couldn't work."
Vargas also discussed the Washington Post's rejection of his story after weeks of editing and fact-checking. He said he had first gone to the Post with the story because it had had such an impact on his life and career.
After telling Post publisher Katherine Weymouth that he was "really, really sorry," Vargas said that he asked to write the story for the paper, "because I thought that was the right thing to do."
When the Post passed on the story, Vargas said, he was "surprised."
He also told Kurtz that, despite his revelation and his launch of a campaign about the DREAM Act and immigration reform, he still considers himself a journalist, not an advocate.WATCH: