Home » campus events » Jose Antonio Vargas ‘Do I Look Illegal… Define American’, Tues 12/11 7pm

Jose Antonio Vargas ‘Do I Look Illegal… Define American’, Tues 12/11 7pm


Jose Antonio Vargas

Jose Antonio Vargas will speak at CU in the Glenn Miller Ballroom UMC on Tuesday, December 11th 2012.

Doors open at 6:30pm and the event starts at 7pm.

Tickets are free for students and community members.

For more information please contact the Cultural Events Board speakers coordinator at speakers.coordinator.ceb@gmail.com. For further information regarding the Cultural Events Board at CU-Boulder, or any of the events we sponsor on campus, visit http://www.coloado.edu/ceb.

Jose Antonio Vargas has been a journalist for over a decade, writing for some of the most prestigious news organizations in the country. His personal journey contends with some of the most fascinating stories he’s covered, living a double life since he was 16 years old.

After being born and reared in the Philippines, his mother, wanting to give her son a better life, sent him to live with his grandparents in Silicon Valley in 1993.At 16 years old when applying for his Learner’s permit at the DMV, he discovered his green card was a fake. Vargas then realized he needed to continue hiding his true identity to avoid deportation and be able to pursue his American dream – a career in journalism.

And succeed he did. Vargas wrote a widely circulated profile of Mark Zuckerberg for The New Yorker. He also served as a senior contributing editor at the Huffington Post, where he launched the Technology and College sections and created the Technology as Anthropology blog, which focuses on tech’s impact on people and how they behave. He covered the tech and video game culture, HIV/AIDS, and the 2008 presidential campaign for the Washington Post, and was part of the team that won a Pulitzer Prize for covering the 2007 massacre at Virginia Tech. His 2006 series on HIV/AIDS in Washington, D.C. inspired a feature-length documentary — The Other City — which he co-produced and wrote. The documentary premiered at the 2010 Tribeca Film Festival and aired on Showtime. In 2007, the daily journal Politico named him one of the 50 Politicos To Watch. Vargas has written for daily newspapers (Philadelphia Daily News, San Francisco Chronicle) and national magazines (Rolling Stone and New York) and has appeared on CNN, ABC News and PBS NewsHour.

However despite all his achievements, the dark shadow of Vargas’ true identity continued to haunt him, as he frequently lied to friends and colleagues, avoided close relationships so no one would ask too many questions, and didn’t travel abroad due to his illegal passport. Finally in the summer of 2011, 18 years after arriving in America he decided he was done running. Vargas exposed his story in his groundbreaking essay, “My Life as an Undocumented Immigrant,” for the New York Times Magazine, stunning the media and political circles and attracting world-wide coverage. Today Vargas runs Define American, a non-profit organization that seeks to elevate the conversation around immigration.