The Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist-turned-activist Jose Antonio Vargas will receive the National Council of La Raza Public Service Award on March 5 for his advocacy of the Dream Act and immigrant rights. The honor was announced in an NCLR tweet on Wednesday.
— NCLR (@NCLR) February 26, 2013
NCLR, the nation's largest national Hispanic civil rights and advocacy organization, also will honor New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg for championing comprehensive immigration reform, California Attorney General Kamala Harris for work on behalf of homeowners and United We Dream, the largest Dream Act group, according to announcements made by NCLR on Twitter.
Vargas, 32, founded Define American, a campaign to 'bring new voices into the immigration conversation.' He has been outspoken about illegal immigration since revealing he was himself an undocumented immigrant in a New York Times article titled 'My Life as An Undocumented Immigrant' in 2011.
“It’s a real honor to receive this award, but the truth is I would never be in this position without the help, guidance and backing of so many family, friends and colleagues from all over this country and around the world," Vargas told The Huffington Post. "We have a lot of work to do to make sure we pass real immigration reform, but with hard work and the support of people like Mayor Bloomberg and Attorney General Harris, I know we can finally do it.”
Vargas became the first undocumented immigrant to speak before the Senate as a witnesses for a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on immigration on Feb. 13. “What do you want to do with me?” he asked senators, adding, “We dream of a path to citizenship so we can actively participate in our American democracy.”
While a reporter at The Washington Post, Vargas shared the newspaper's Pulitzer Prize in 2008 for reporting on the Virginia Tech massacre. Vargas was a Huffington Post editor in 2009 and 2010.