This is an edited excerpt from Esther Ha’s paper entitled “Undocumented Korean Americans: In Search of a Better Future through the Past and Present.”
It was not until recently that Asian Americans became comfortable sharing their experiences of being undocumented immigrants. Jose Antonio Vargas is a Filipino immigrant who found out the naturalization papers his grandfather provided him with upon arrival were fraudulent. When he was 12 years old, his mother sent Vargas to the United States so that he could live a more prosperous lifestyle. He grew up aspiring to become a journalist- a dream he has achieved regardless of his lack of documentation. He has interviewed many prominent figures in American government and has also been awarded the Pulitzer Prize for his work with the Virginia Tech shooting. His story has encouraged fellow undocumented Asian Americans to open up about their experiences and has ultimately found a voice for the larger community. Though it is still a quiet voice, Asian Americans are finding their way into the media and are slowly, but surely, personally expressing their concerns and have begun their fight for justice.
On a related note, Jose Antonio Vargas will be lecturing at Pomona College on February 28th (tomorrow!) at 7pm in Edmunds Ballroom. This event is open to the public.