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On the latest adventure of Recode Decode with Kara Swisher, Kara talks with Jose Antonio Vargas, the columnist of “Dear America: Notes of an Undocumented Citizen.” Born in the Philippines, Vargas came to the United States aback he was 12 but didn’t acquisition out that he was an undocumented immigrant until he was 16 and attempted to get a driver’s license.
A Pulitzer Prize-winning announcer who has accounting for outlets like the New Yorker and the Washington Post, Vargas said he’s admiring of Silicon Valley’s efforts to beforehand clearing reform, but additionally aloft some acute qualifications: Ameliorate can’t alone be about alleged “high skill” tech workers, and it’s can’t alone abode the fate of bodies like him who were brought to the U.S. aback they were minors.
“The DREAMers were absolutely the aboriginal affectionate of amusing media-oriented adolescent activists, acceptation they were the ones who started activity into those offices of the senators and the congressmen and the congresswomen saying, ‘What about my parents?’” Vargas said.
And, he acicular out, the tech association is far added accepting of absorptive borders aback it comes to affairs their products.
“This iPhone can be bogus in China, delivered to Cupertino and end up in New York area I bought it on 5th Avenue,” Vargas added. “This iPhone can go to added places than I can as a animal being. And accustomed your audience, I capital to accomplish abiding that I absolutely say this. I anticipate it’s absolutely admirable that tech optimists wanna accessible up the apple and wanna affix and wanna accommodate accoutrement for bodies to connect. Absolutely. But while we do that, can we additionally agreement that bodies can absolutely accept the accustomed appropriate to move?”
You can accept to Recode Decode wherever you get your podcasts, including Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Pocket Casts and Overcast.
Below, we’ve aggregate a agilely edited abounding archetype of Kara’s chat with Jose.
Kara Swisher: Hi, I’m Kara Swisher, editor at ample of Recode. You may apperceive me as addition who thinks we should accelerate Jeff Sessions aback home to the North Pole, but in my additional time I allocution tech, and you’re alert to Recode Decode from the Vox Media Podcast Network.
Today in the red armchair is Jose Antonio Vargas, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, documentary filmmaker and now a book author. His new book is alleged “Dear America: Notes of an Undocumented Citizen.” Jose, adequate to Recode Decode.
Jose Antonio Vargas: Thank you so abundant for accepting me.
Thank you. We’ve had cartage problems actuality in New York, didn’t we?
Jeez, that’s how it goes. Anyway, I’m so aflame to allocution about this, but I appetite bodies to get a faculty of who you are first, and I appetite to allocution a little bit about your background, how you got to adjudge to abode this, because you’ve been a announcer for abundant of your career.
Yeah. I begin out I was actuality illegally aback I was 16. This was in ’97. My English teacher, Mrs. Dewar, said I asked too abounding annoying questions and that I should do this affair alleged journalism. I had no abstraction what that was.
Where did you abound up?
Mountain View, like area Google is, on the added ancillary of El Camino. But there’s no writers in my family, but afresh I begin out that aback you become a journalist, you get a affair alleged a byline. So your name would be on the paper. So my naïve cocky thought, “If I can’t be actuality because I don’t accept the appropriate papers, well, what if my name was on the paper?” That was absolutely the alone acumen why I became a journalist, aloof so my name could abide about so I could say that I’m absolutely here.
When I anticipate of it now, how acrid that is that I’m declared to adumbrate because, you know, undocumented bodies like me are declared to aloof affectionate of …
… Accumulate quiet, but I was in a profession that was not quiet, but as a announcer it wasn’t me. I was autograph added people’s stories. So that was affectionate of my out.
And that’s what I did for like, you know, from 16 until I was 30.
So you assignment for? Explain for the bodies who don’t apperceive you.
So I assignment for the Mountain Appearance Voice, which is a bounded association bi-weekly …
Pulitzer Prize winner.
… That you get every Friday, and afresh at the San Francisco Chronicle all throughout college, and afresh the Washington Post. And afresh afterwards that, I went to the Huffington Post, pre-AOL. So I launched the technology area and the academy section. Afresh the New Yorker. I did a contour of Mark Zuckerberg, affectionate of the first.
And what was your focus then? It was a lot of tech actuality you did.
It was a lot of tech stuff. That, but absolutely added … I consistently advised technology as anthropology. I was consistently from that angle of, how it’s alteration ability and what it says about demographic change.
And what does it say?
Well, I mean, I anticipate you apprehend the actuality that it’s democratizing information.
Allegedly, there’s that. But from the absolute beginning, I anticipation all the alcove … I anticipate Ava Duvernay said, I heard her say commodity afresh about how “the abundance are in the niches.” Right? And so I anticipate with the acceleration of … I mean, alike at the Washington Post, I fabricated an complete beat about the alliance of backroom and the internet.
Right. You’re one of the aboriginal who did that.
Yeah. I’ll never balloon Len Downie, above editor of the Washington Post, appear to my lath activity like, “Are these Ron Paul bodies real?!”
I’ll never balloon this.
Try accepting him to abode about the internet in 1992.
But afresh I’ll never forget, I went to …
That was at the Washington Post.
That was at the Washington Post. Afterwards Barack Obama appear he was active for president, he went to Iowa, and I went. It was the aboriginal cruise appropriate afterwards he announced. I went because of all these kids application this affair alleged Facebook.
And I capital to prove to my editor that these kids were real.
Right, right. You were early.
So that was my beat. So my beat was all these kids, this was early. I anticipate it was the aboriginal time absolutely Facebook was on the advanced folio of a bi-weekly about politics. And of advance at that time, Don Graham was on the lath of Facebook.
And so I would get like a little agenda saying, “Hey, that was an absorbing commodity on this.” So I was aloof absolutely absorbed in like, you know, abnormally aback then, in ’07 and ’08, like I anticipation …
Which is already late. It was already backward because it was 10 years afore it started.
Yes. But in agreement of area D.C. was, it was …
No, they were still application BlackBerrys.
They were still application BlackBerrys. They absolutely absolutely anticipation these bodies were not real. And I anticipation it was so absorbing in agreement of cerebration of the internet as like Walmart, right? And you had all the Latin bodies and the atramentous bodies and the gay people. Like the actuality that all those “niches” were absolutely acquisition about Obama …
And I’ll never balloon actuality in a meeting, in a political meeting, aboriginal morning, and adage to the bodies that I absolutely anticipation Barack Obama had a adventitious to win the primary. Everybody but David Broder anticipation I was nuts.
David Broder was the one who said, “There ability be commodity there, adolescent man.”
And afresh he gave me a archetype of “The Boys on the Bus.” This was in ’08, and it was still appealing abundant boys on the bus.
Right, yes, absolutely. White boys on the bus, actually.
Mind you, while all this was happening, I aria to the Washington Post about accepting the job. So there was alone one actuality in the newsroom who knew that I was undocumented. Peter Perrot, he was allotment of the chief management.
When I got hired, four months afterwards I got hired, I anticipate by October 2004, I started freaking out. So I anticipation I had to acquaint somebody. So I best this guy. He accomplished me the acceptation of the chat mensch. And I didn’t apperceive what that was. And I told him, and I accepted him to say, “Okay, we got to go acquaint Len Downie and we gotta go to HR.”
Instead — and I abode this in the book — instead he says, “You accomplish so abundant added faculty now.” I can alone brainstorm how I charge accept seemed. And afresh he goes, “Don’t acquaint anybody else.”
So whenever I was like, aback I was in Iowa for the aboriginal time, driving, I didn’t absolutely apperceive how to drive. I had aloof gotten my license.
When I was on Sarah Palin accoutrement her advance in Indiana, I would aloof alarm Peter and Peter was like, “Jose, you anguish too much, man. No one’s activity to acquisition out.”
Explain your undocumented status. Your parents? Explain.
Yeah, so my mom, one morning I woke up in the Philippines and my bag was arranged and she beatific me to the airport. I was activity to alive with her parents, my grandparents, who were aborigine U.S. citizens.
I was 12 and my mom said she was activity to follow. So that was the understanding. So I got to Mountain Appearance aback I was 12.
Why? What was the …
The acumen was a bigger activity was here. My grandparents had been actuality aback the mid-80s. They’re both aborigine U.S. citizens, as they said. A aliment server, my grandma at NASA, and afresh my grandfathering was a aegis guard, all affectionate of those biotech companies in Mountain View.
So got actuality aback I was 12, aggregate was fine. And it was 1993 aback I got here. Although I accept to acquaint you though, I anticipation I was in the amiss country aback I landed, because America was like “Baywatch” and like “Oprah” and Michael Jackson. And afresh I landed at LAX and it was like, who are these people? They attending like me. I didn’t apperceive that America was Filipino and Asian and all that.
So afresh four years afterwards accepting here, I went to the DMV to get a driver’s authorization in Mountain View, appropriate beyond from Target. And that’s how I begin out. The woman at the DMV, she was absolutely the aboriginal actuality to acquaint me that the blooming agenda was fake. And afresh she said, “Don’t appear aback actuality again.” And you know, the moment she said that, the aboriginal anticipation in my arch was, “I’m not Mexican.”
Because aback then, alike aback I was 16, everybody in the news, everybody said this was about Mexican people. It’s aloof my name is so Hispanic ‘cause of Spanish colonialism, I anticipation maybe she anticipation it was Mexican. So I said, “No, no, no.” And afresh I confronted my grandfather, of course, afterwards I begin this out and my grandfathering said, “Yes, you’re not declared to be here.” And so that’s how I begin out.
And afresh I assumption his plan was, I was activity to marry, I was activity to assignment buried jobs, like his aboriginal plan was the flea bazaar on Berryessa Road in San Jose. That was the aboriginal thing. His brother formed there as a attendant and he anticipation he could get me a job there. And afresh he anticipation that I would aloof ally a woman who is a U.S. aborigine and, poof!
You’d become naturalized.
And then, of course, I told him at that time that I was gay.
That’s a big problem.
Right? Really, that was … Right? I mean, aback I anticipate aback on it now, it was absolutely a way of declaring my faculty of independence, right? Because basically what he capital to do was accept me lie again.
Why not the process? Why not put into …
Because there wasn’t one. But that’s the thing, though, I didn’t apperceive that. So I was 16. Right?
I didn’t acquaint anybody. The alone actuality I told was Arvin Murphy, who was my best acquaintance from choir, because he was consistently the one driving. He was the one who said, “Get a freaking driver’s permit.”
“I’m ailing of active you.”
Right. “I’m ailing of active you in my Toyota Camry. Get a driver’s permit.” So I told him and you know, Arvin, Indian family, it was like, “What do we do?” I’m like, “I don’t know.”
So we didn’t acquaint anybody. By the time my aerial academy arch begin out, I was already a senior, and all of my agents and the bodies who mentored me at Mountain Appearance aerial academy were apprehensive why I wasn’t applying for college. Because I couldn’t.
Because you were a adequate student?
I was okay, but there was no banking aid. I ample out that you charge papers, you can’t get banking aid. So I thought, I’ll aloof work. At that time, I was already alive at the Mountain Appearance Voice as a City Hall reporter. I was authoritative $10 an hour.
I figured, that was appealing good, right?
That’s absolute good.
I went from like $25 an commodity to like $10 an hour. Why not? And so afresh I told my arch that I’m not activity to go to college. And then, “What are you talking about?” And afresh that’s aback I told her. And afresh she told the superintendent, who afresh told the academy counselor, and afresh everybody approved to accept me because they thought, “Let’s aloof accept this kid and we’ll amount this out.”
Because this was in 2000. There was no DREAM Act, there was nothing. And afresh their attorneys all told them, “He’s too old.” So if I hadn’t begin out, if I had told bodies aboriginal abundant aback I was 16, it still could accept been … But you know, my grandparents are, they didn’t accept in lawyers.
They were ambuscade in apparent sight. They were acclimated to that.
Yeah, they were acclimated to that. Alike admitting they had papers, they didn’t assurance the accomplished system.
So that’s why there’s no process. And grandparents, it’s not abutting abundant of a accord for a grandfathering or grandmother to petition. And to this day, as a announcer who happens to be undocumented, the No. 1 catechism bodies ask me — from Bill Maher, everywhere — is, “Why don’t you aloof go fix this thing?” Like I’m declared to like about-face off a ablaze about-face and like, poof, I’m an American burglary your welfare.
But it’s incredible, though, how abundant we allocution about this affair and yet how little bodies apperceive about process. I anticipate Silicon Valley, we apperceive added because of H-1B visas and all that, but for the best part, the American public, alike the media, has no abstraction how this works.
So your grandparents didn’t do annihilation at the time because they weren’t dupe the system.
Nobody in the schools could do something. So bodies added begin out, but cipher had a band-aid for you.
Nobody had a band-aid for me except …
Getting married. Not a solution.
What was absorbing there, though, I was advantageous that I grew up south of San Francisco. All of those agents and administrators were so affable of my actuality gay, because I concluded up absolutely advancing out as gay in aerial school, because I couldn’t be in two closets at once. I had to get out of one of them, so I ample get out of the gay one, you know?
Yeah, you’re out of all of them now.
But thankfully, I grew up in a association area I was authentic because of actuality gay. And then, but this clearing thing, they were like, “We don’t apperceive what this is.”
So you aloof connected on.
I aloof continued. Every footfall alternating the way, including … In the book, I absolutely concluded up acknowledgment how I got a driver’s license, because I would not accept had a career in journalism if I didn’t accept a driver’s license. And at that time, there were alone two states that accustomed us to drive. I don’t apperceive how this happened. I’m a journalist, I analysis every state’s requirement. It was Oregon and Tennessee. So Oregon’s afterpiece to Mountain View, so I went to Oregon.
And you don’t wanna go to Tennessee.
And afresh every distinct coach — my principal, my superintendent, the superintendent’s abettor — all helped me get the license, acceptation they absolutely beatific belletrist to Portland, Oregon, so I could accept a affidavit of I.D.
Mind you, now, Oregon doesn’t let bodies like me drive anymore. In 2014, Oregon fabricated marijuana acknowledged and it took abroad the appropriate of undocumented bodies to drive. There’s alone 12 states that acquiesce bodies like me to drive. New York is not one of them. Florida is not one of them. Texas, 1.8 actor undocumented people, is not one of them.
Not one of them. They aloof drive anyway.
I’m sorry, is there a alms arrangement everywhere in this country that we don’t apperceive about?
No, they aloof drive anyway.
They aloof drive anyway, alike admitting they’re not declared to. And by the way, that’s how a lot of bodies concluded up accepting arrested, and afore you apperceive it, they’re detained.
So why would you?
For me, aback bodies acclimated to allocution to me about clearing reform, I’m like, “Can we allocution about driver’s licenses first?”
Or added things, added places, services.
Just basal casework that like …
Explain how your grandparents got you into academy then.
Oh, it was immunization agenda and a bearing certificate. In this country, accessible schools is absolutely … The Supreme Court has absitively that bodies like me can go to academy and bodies don’t ask questions. Although, there’s now some accompaniment measures that are aggravating to anticipate that. Of advance in California, Prop 187 …
To bolt people.
Prop 187 in California, right, in the mid ’90s, was an advance but that failed.
So that’s how … But at that time though, this was afresh backward ’90s, aboriginal 2000s, there was no added affectionate of services.
So the Post never begin out about this?
And that’s what was alarming to me.
Just for listeners, how did they pay you?
Oh no, no. They paid me like they would pay me. So I use … My grandfathering concluded up accepting me a Amusing Aegis cardinal that wasn’t authentic for employment. It’s says absolute acutely “not authentic for employment.” And afresh he took photocopies of it, and the photocopied adaptation is what I consistently gave employers, and they never checked.
They never checked, right.
That’s why for me, allotment of my affectionate of advancing out and talking about this was like, delay a second. If we’re absolutely austere about alive who’s here, don’t you absolutely appetite to know? So why was I … In the book, I concluded up alignment the book affectionate of “lying, casual and hiding.” Those are like three stages, right? So how are we able to aloof pass? I don’t know.
Well, it happens.
And throughout the accomplished time, I bethink aback I aboriginal got a letter from the Amusing Aegis Administration. I was like, “Wait, how do they apperceive that I’m …” … Right? I mean, they knew my abode and afresh they told me that I had paid like $30,000 into the system. And I’m thinking, “Isn’t the cardinal not authentic for work? So how did they …”
They got paid.
But again, the IRS …
Doesn’t apperceive what …
They don’t affliction whether or not you’re actuality legally. They aloof appetite your taxes. I accept paid so abundant taxes, I should be a Republican. I have. By the way, I’m absolutely accomplished advantageous taxes.
Yeah, but you’re not accepting them aback the way you’re declared to.
No, you’re not. But I’m a artefact of accessible school, I adulation accessible libraries, so I’m added than blessed to pay the taxes.
You’re demography your money out.
But can you at atomic not …
But you won’t be accepting Amusing Security.
No, I won’t. I won’t be accepting any of that out.
Right, because you put it in.
But anticipate about it for a second. So the IRS and the Amusing Aegis Administration apperceive that this is happening. So are they talking to anybody abroad in the government?
No, they’re demography the money.
They’re aloof demography the money.
They’re demography the money.
So again, let’s be honest about all of this, right? Again, I’m blessed to pay the money, but can you not alarm us like we’re insect off your backs? Can you accede the actuality that we absolutely accept families we accept to support? Can you at atomic let us drive?
Are accidental …
And are contributing.
So you get to, you move on to the Huffington Post. Aforementioned thing.
The aforementioned thing, and afresh no one bent me. And afresh for me though, the bigger borderline was the driver’s license, that Oregon license. So it was authentic from 2003 until 2011.
So it was this active time, me alive that, okay, this thing’s expiring. It’s expiring, it’s expiring. So at the time I got at the Huffington Post, I was already like 29. So I knew that it was about over, and afresh I had to accomplish a decision. Do I stay? Because at that time it’s not like no one, it’s not like anybody was aggressive me or anybody was award out. It was all inside.
So it was either I accumulate lying or I leave. I absolutely anticipation about that for awhile. I thought, why not aloof …
Going aback to the Philippines?
Yeah, because I haven’t apparent my mom aback I left. She can’t alike appear in on a day-tripper visa. She’s been denied three times now.
Because she doesn’t own acreage and she’s not a academy graduate. What does that acquaint you about class, right?
Mind you, if she were a French woman and she capital to go see “Hamilton” over the weekend, she would aloof buy a alike admission and poof, she’s in New York. And if she wanted, she can overstay her visa. I can’t acquaint you how abounding undocumented white bodies accost me at Starbucks. No, usually it’s like, “Hey, you know, just, we’re the same.” And I’m like, “What?” It’s usually French, British, German bodies who feel absolutely guilty.
Safe but accusable that whenever this affair comes up, it’s not about them.
Right, because it isn’t.
Because it isn’t.
Because it isn’t. So your mom’s not accustomed to appear here. You can’t leave the country.
Well, I can, but if I leave, there’s no agreement I’d be accustomed back.
That’s what I mean.
So that’s a catechism that I accept to absolutely consider, and I accompany that up in the book, right?
I mean, I’ve been actuality 25 years. That’s a long-ass time.
Right. And so you accede activity aback and what else?
I considered, but you know, this is area I’m from.
I’m not abiding I’m ready. I haven’t apparent Mississippi and Alaska yet. Those are the aftermost two states I got to go see. I’m seeing Mississippi abutting month. Alaska, I anticipate I’m activity to try to amount out what to do with Sarah Palin.
When did you adjudge at the Huffington Post that you’re aloof activity to acknowledge this? You’ve been passing, lying.
I had afresh said this to Mark because he didn’t know, to Zuckerberg. So aback I did that contour with him, I concluded up adequate him to aloof do aloof the two of us, because usually he has like a handler. I’m like, “Let’s aloof booty a walk.”
He loves to walk.
We were demography a airing on California Avenue in Palo Alto, and he asked me area I was from, which is a absolute simple question.
I could’ve aloof said Mountain View, which is true, but at that moment, area I’m from is that I’m not declared to acquaint you area I’m from. I’m declared to aloof affectionate of lie.
Gloss it over.
Yeah, appearance it over. Actuality I am allurement Mark appealing adamantine questions about Facebook and area it was going. And I couldn’t alike acknowledgment that simple question. And that was aback I was like, “Okay, I accept to stop.” I accept to stop. And afresh I started planning, if I were to do this publicly, what would it mean, legally?
So as any adequate reporter, I batten to like 20 attorneys and approved to amount out how abundant agitation I was in. And they’re like, “You’re in a lot of agitation and you’re crazy. You should not anticipate about acknowledgment your clearing status. The moment you do that, we can’t advice you.” Because the moment I do it, I absolutely accept to aggregate I did, accomplish fraud, breach laws. But again, as a journalist, if I’m not activity to acquaint the truth, afresh why do it?
So was there any added affair to do? There was no acknowledged thing.
No. Well, I mean, there were so abounding altered options in agreement of, if I’d left. Right?
Because I anticipate a lot of attorneys were aloof thinking, “Why don’t you aloof leave, and you can aloof appear out aback you’re in the Philippines. You could do a book.” Clearly, I didn’t do that.
What about blockage and adequate an American citizen?
Right now, there’s no … Alfresco of allurement the admiral for a pardon, abreast from allurement Congress to canyon a clandestine bill for me …
Right, to absolve, yeah.
You’re already attractive at allegedly the best advantaged undocumented immigrant in this country. Really, let’s be honest.
And there was no DREAM Act.
Right, there was no DREAM Act.
Explain the DREAM Act for people.
The DREAM Act was alien in 2001. Actually, the aboriginal audition was declared to be on September 11, 2001. They canceled it, of course, because 9/11. It was declared to accord abiding acknowledged cachet to bodies like me who were brought actuality as children. Right?
It was a bipartisan bill, Orrin Hatch and the agent from Illinois. I’m blacking out on his name. It’s gonna appear to me appealing soon. That was introduced, and it never went anywhere. Appropriate now, there’s no DREAM Act. Right?
Since 2001, this has been introduced. Appropriate now, we accept this affair alleged DACA, which is what Admiral Obama did in 2012.
By controlling order.
By controlling order, which is temporary. I accept allegedly heard from …
Which is what’s actuality batted about.
Which has been batted about.
Over the wall.
Over the wall. But here’s what I acquisition absolutely acrid about this, the DACA band-aid or the DREAM Act band-aid is declared to be “the best adequate thing.” The anecdotal was, these are our kids. They went to academy here. If we can’t alike amount out what to do with them, how are we gonna abode their parents?
Right, and this would’ve accustomed ample amnesty to them and a alleyway to American citizenship.
Yes, a pathway. Although, that’s consistently been, is it aloof amends or is it additionally citizenship? Because there’s some proposals out there aloof like, “Let’s aloof accomplish them legal, but let’s never accomplish them citizens.”
Citizens. Right, or never …
Which is why the appellation of the book has the chat “citizen” on it. So we accept been in this …
And you did not authorize for this?
Well, the DACA thing, I was four months too old. I was four months too old. I know, I know, I know. I’m like, “I’m Asian, we age well. Can’t that calculation for anything?”
They couldn’t accept you, you couldn’t get into DACA.
Yeah. But look, for me admitting …
When you absitively to aloof be public, you went to all these lawyers.
We went to all these lawyers. And for me …
They said nothing.
They said annihilation was gonna do it.
DACA doesn’t work.
And for me though, from the absolute beginning, it was like, how do we change the way we allocution about this issue? I bethink aback I was in aerial school, Ellen DeGeneres and the awning of Time Magazine-
Yeah, that awning was big deal.
I anticipate it was Newsweek, wasn’t it?
It was Time. It was Time.
It was Time, okay.
And afresh two years later, “Will and Grace,” the No. 1 appearance on television. To me, the assignment that GLAAD has done is like, how do you change this affair that is so … I bethink aback afresh in 2004, 2003 aback gay alliance was still “just a political issue.” It wasn’t a cultural conversation. So aback I came out, I started this alignment alleged Ascertain American, and the accomplished ambition is, how do we acculturate this affair and accomplish it absolutely about people?
Right, exactly. Right.
But again, that’s a boxy affair to do.
Especially because everybody aloof wants to allocution about partisan. Everybody aloof wants to allocution about action and politics.
And it’s all altered kinds of immigrants from altered countries, like you were talking about. The British are palatable, adjoin the Mexican who are not.
The Mandarin and Spanish and Tagalog isn’t beheld absolutely as adult as French and German.
Right, and abnormally that’s what Trump is using, is these abhorrent terms.
And the alone affair … not the alone thing, but to me at least, I …
When he says “shithole countries,” everything, it’s been creating as …
It’s so overt. It’s so open. So now the catechism is, area do we go from here? Area do we go? What are we absolutely doing?
Right, right. So area do you go? You did this. You said, “Forget it, lawyers. It doesn’t matter. I’ve already done the crime.” Right?
Well, I’ve already burst those laws that I wasn’t declared to breach in agreement of application and fraud. That’s the added thing, by the way, is cogent bodies that actuality actuality illegally, it’s not a crime. It’s a abomination offense. But we are so acclimated to attached abomination with this issue, which is why I bethink aback I got …
In the book, I concluded up talking about what it was like to be bedfast in Texas. I’ll never balloon sitting on the adhesive attic of this bastille cell, attractive at these boys from Central America, and thinking, “This is how about base we are. We absolutely anticipate these kids are illegal. We accept put them in bastille because they absolved to appear here.”
Now apperception you, if they had absolved from Canada, it would’ve been a altruistic … Disney would’ve accustomed them chargeless Disneyland trips, right?
I aloof anticipate the accomplished … the way we anticipate about this is all absolutely busted up.
So what has happened afresh in that regard?
Well, I bethink aback Trump got elected.
Is it aloof Trump? Or he’s aloof articulating?
Well, I anticipate from a botheration …
Because Laura Ingraham’s been banging abroad on her racist boom for a continued time.
Banging … But I anticipate from a action standpoint, this is as worse as it’s gonna get.
Because it’d been activity backwards, abnormally tech people, Mark included, accept been trying.
Have been aggravating aback Obama was still in office. But this has been a bipartisan mess. Let me explain commodity really, absolutely important here. In the mid ’90s, aback Bill Clinton was affronted the war adjoin welfare, was the aforementioned time we started affronted the war adjoin “illegals.” About that time in the mid ’90s, he active clearing bills.
So for example, if I were to leave this country, I would face, it’s alleged a 10-year bar. That’s because of what Admiral Clinton active into law. We accept met at Ascertain American so abounding husbands and wives, wives who were affiliated to Mexican immigrants who accept beyond the bound added than twice, so accordingly they’re banned for life. So alike admitting they’re married, they can’t acclimatize their status.
So meaning, this has been from a action standpoint, from Clinton to Bush to Obama to Trump. So Trump is the appearance of all of these behavior that accept absolutely fabricated no faculty of all.
Right, which accept gone aback and forth, but never accept had the alleyway to citizenship.
Never had the alleyway to citizenship, which afresh tells us, what constitutes citizenship? I’ll never forget, I did this accident in North Carolina, and this aged atramentous woman came to the event. I assumption she saw me on PBS or something. And so, she brought this old allotment of paper, and afterwards the accident she came over to me and she said, “Mr. Vargas, I’m not an immigrant. My ancestors were brought here.” Slavery. And afresh she opened a allotment of paper. It was a bill of sale. I had never apparent one before.
Oh my God.
And you apperceive what she said to me? She goes, “Can you affix the allotment of cardboard that my great-great-grandmother got to the pieces of affidavit that you and your bodies can’t accept to get? This is not about papers, adolescent man.”
Or, I had this adolescent man from San Juan, Puerto Rico, a few months ago aback I was autograph the book, he emailed me and said, “Hey, I apperceive that you’re not a citizen, Jose, but I’m a citizen. I’m Puerto Rican, but it doesn’t beggarly everything, man. Attending at how they’re alleviative us.”
Right, right, right. What is a citizen? And what akin of citizenship do you get?
At what level? And to me, which accordingly agency what? It agency amends has consistently been about power. It has consistently been about …
Right, right. 100 percent.
It has consistently been about, who gets to ascertain what for whom? And so, of advance I acclaim all of these organizations. It’s not aloof Mark, it’s Michael Bloomberg, it’s all these tech bodies who are like, “Let’s aloof canyon clearing ameliorate and this will break itself.” I would absolutely achievement that the Trump era is assuming them that casual a bill and casual a law is not enough.
No, no. We gotta change the face of what bodies …
We accept in this country appropriate now, we accept 43 actor immigrants in this country, 11 actor of whom are actuality undocumented. Right?
43 million. According to Pew, in the abutting 50 years, 88 percent of the complete US citizenry advance is gonna appear from those 43 actor people.
So you accept a country that has a agitation advance whenever Atramentous Lives Amount is brought up, that’s consistently been atramentous and white. That is now way added complicated. And that’s for me …
Explain why the clearing reform, the tech bodies tried, what didn’t work? That was the aftermost go around, I think.
That was the last, but I anticipate a lot of it has to do with how accommodating … there is now the astriction amid not aloof tech groups, but what a lot of advocates and lobbyists appetite adjoin what the undocumented association absolutely want. Because assumption what the X agency is? Amusing media.
The DREAMers were absolutely the aboriginal affectionate of amusing media-oriented adolescent activists, acceptation they were the ones who started activity into those offices of the senators and the agent and the congresswomen saying, “Wait a second, you’re not aloof gonna … What about my parents?” Meaning, analytic the DREAM Act is not enough. “What about my parents?” So meaning, whatever they put out …
I bethink aback Mark was starting Forward, it didn’t accept a name yet. I said to him, “That’s abundant that you’re accepting into this, but Mark, amuse accomplish abiding that the moment you appear out and abutment clearing that it’s not aloof about H-1B visas, that it’s not aloof about for Dreamers.”
Right, which it about is for tech. I consistently say that they’re … I had an absorbing allocution with a agglomeration of them, and they were like, “H-1B.” I said, “What about everybody else? We accept to be for all of them.”
What about all the nannies? What about all the farmers? And to his credit, FWD is absolutely way added across-the-board than a lot of the added kinda tech firms aggravating to get clearing done. Usually it’s just, “Oh, attending at these Dreamers. Aren’t they so inspiring?”
Because that sorta ties in with what Trump does say, which is, “We appetite the accomplished ones.” He does say that out loud.
Yeah, which is why it’s alarming to say that there are the adequate affectionate of immigrants and the bad affectionate of immigrants. What does that mean? Or to alarm bodies … I bethink this is the affair that absolutely gets at me, “low-skill” activity and “high-skill” labor. I’m sorry, I appear from a ancestors of farmers. I bethink in the Philippines, agriculture rice. There’s annihilation low accomplished about agriculture rice. Right?
Right. But it is absorbing that tech sometimes is on the aforementioned ancillary as Trump, as far as I can apprehend it.
About this again, anecdotal of …
They’re aloof not blame for the added one.
They’re not pushing. But again, aback to your point though. You’re absolutely appropriate that this exceptionalism, they accept to be exceptional. I don’t wanna accept to analyze my resume to added people.
Right, to get into this country. So you decide, “Forget it,” you accomplishment journalism.
And to appear out, so to speak.
Well, I still accede myself a announcer in that way, although some bodies …
But you appear out.
Yeah, I appear out.
You appear out as an undocumented citizen.
So gay and undocumented. That’s it, by the way.
When did you …
That’s it. No added advancing out.
That’s a winner. That’s a champ for advancing here.
That’s it, no more. Nothing, no more.
I’m aloof aggravating … Your alone advantage is to marry, correct?
No, alike if I do that …
Oh, because for fraud, you committed fraud.
Fraud. It’s absolutely a clandestine bill, or a absolution from the president, or I leave. Or clearing ameliorate passes, and afresh immunity.
You accept immunity.
So those are the four options on the table.
And let’s go through anniversary of them. One?
Not accepting a absolution from anybody. Not allurement anybody for any pardon.
The admiral is not gonna accord you a pardon.
I’m not accepting a clandestine bill.
Have you talked to Kim Kardashian? She ability be able to advice you, but go ahead. I’m teasing.
A clandestine bill, no. Because what bulletin would that send? I should’ve done that seven years ago if that’s what I was gonna do. The third would be leave, which …
And afresh you’d never be able to appear back, right?
Probably not. Allegedly not.
You wouldn’t be able to appear aback with any affectionate of visa?
Well, I could apply, but afresh …
But they’d know.
But they’d know, and yeah.
And so does that acquire you a lifetime ban?
I don’t apperceive that yet. But the affair is, my grandmother who aloft me aloof affronted 81. She’s from Mountain View, like a brace afar from Google. And I don’t know, I aloof can’t buck the anticipation of my abrogation here, and afresh whatever happens, and afresh what? Right?
Because I’ve heard abhorrence belief from bodies who can’t go to the canonizing account of their admired ones, and they do it through Skype or FaceTime.
Right, exactly. It sounds terrible. That sounds terrible.
And afresh the fourth?
The fourth would be if they canyon clearing reform, whenever that’s activity to be.
Where is that? Aback is that?
Nowhere. Absolutely nowhere. And again, I anticipate we accept to use this as an befalling to ask ourselves harder questions, which …
What affectionate of clearing reform?
What affectionate of clearing reform, but also, why are they coming? Why are bodies coming? I anticipate in the tech community, there’s an easier acknowledgment there. We charge jobs. But alike aback I was ashore in that bastille corpuscle with those boys, what was absorbing was best of them were cutting shoes. They were either Adidas, Nike or Reebok. American brands. I acquisition it so alluring that this iPhone appropriate actuality can absolutely go to added places than my mother and I can. Right?
This iPhone can be bogus in China, delivered to Cupertino and end up in New York area I bought it on 5th Avenue. This iPhone can go to added places than I can as a animal being. And accustomed your audience, I capital to accomplish abiding that I absolutely say this. I anticipate it’s absolutely admirable that tech optimists wanna accessible up the apple and wanna affix and wanna accommodate accoutrement for bodies to connect. Absolutely. But while we do that, can we additionally agreement that bodies can absolutely accept the accustomed appropriate to move?
Because it’s absolutely natural, moving.
There’s annihilation added natural.
That’s what the complete animal chase has done.
That’s how the accomplished country was founded on. Unless you’re Native American or African American, you came actuality from somewhere. So I think, how do we get the tech association to understand? I acclimated to be so affronted by this appellation “global citizen,” because I consistently anticipation it came from this advantaged abode of, “I can aloof go wherever I wanna go this weekend,” kinda thing. Well, there’s 258 actor migrants in this world, according to the UN. Who welcomes them area they get to be a citizen? That to me is one of the questions …
Well, the botheration is the all-around affection appear this has turned.
Not aloof here.
Which … It has consistently been thus.
Has consistently been. We accept consistently talked to the Irish, talked to the Chinese, right?
Yeah, exactly. This is not …
So this has consistently been allotment of our history. But the difference, though, is this …
But in places like Sweden and added places which were absolute welcoming, it’s confused absolutely dramatically.
Which is why for me, they alarm it a all-around clearing crisis. I would rather alarm it a accustomed progression of history. So if you drew up a map of the apple …
Why is that?
For example, there are four actor Filipinos actuality in the United States. We’re the third-largest immigrant group. It’s Mexicans, Chinese and afresh Filipinos. Aback I was accomplishing this book, actually, the administrator was allurement me why my name Jose doesn’t accept an emphasis on the E.
“Filipinos don’t put emphasis on the E.” Okay, that wasn’t abundant of a adequate reason. I had to absolutely investigate. So I got my name because of Spanish colonialism. There’s no emphasis in the E because aback the Americans took over afterwards the Spanish American War …
They got rid of it.
Their typewriters …
… that they brought to the Philippines didn’t accept emphasis marks.
So accordingly …
So my name is a aggregate of Spanish colonialism and American imperialism.
And typewriters. For me, if all these western countries can appear to our countries to advance their industries as a assurance of their political and bread-and-butter behavior and power, why can’t we appear to theirs?
That is an accomplished question, Jose. What’s amazing is so abounding undocumented citizens aren’t absolutely as clear as you are about their problem, and you’re aggravating to put this animal face on it. I’ve been to several altered things that in actuality tech bodies accept done, the immersing aggregate about …
Carne y Arena, which is an amazing VR appearance which is absolutely interesting.
Which is fascinating.
And absolutely acclaim to … I accept to say this, by the way. The actuality that Laurene Powell Jobs sees the role of art and storytelling in this, to me …
Yes, with the big photographs.
But again, she’s been one of the exceptions, because bodies anticipate in D.C., all you gotta do is canyon clearing ameliorate or …
Right. So allocution about the role… because you’re cogent a adventure actuality of your …
Yeah, which I didn’t absolutely wanna do, by the way.
Try to acculturate … You’re adage that DACA, they use amusing media. They’re aggravating to acquaint stories.
They’re aggravating to acquaint stories.
“Here I am, I’ve done this.”
Well, the advancing out movement. That’s why for me, application the LGBTQ rights as a archetypal …
That’s a absolutely adequate one. I hadn’t anticipation about that, but that’s a abundant idea.
But, you appear out to let bodies in.
That’s a abundant way of putting it.
And in the book, I fabricated an accomplishment to absolutely …
I came out to to drive my mother crazy, but go ahead.
But you know, I acquaint the adventure in the book of all of these agents and advisers who, they were like my underground railroad of people. And I’m adage that with all due account to African American history. I was an American Studies above in college. The actuality that there’s all these bodies who accept helped bodies like me, and the actuality that we never absolutely apprehend their belief …
Because it doesn’t accomplish faculty on a basal akin aback you apperceive the people, aback you absolutely … that’s the …
Which gets us aback to the LGBT rights movement, right?
Right, everyone’s like, “Oh, no, not them.” Because it takes bodies out of this… As you know, if you bethink from … what’s his name, the cine that was about gays in movies. It was a abundant film.
Oh, “The Celluloid Closet.”
“The Celluloid Closet.”
I showed that, actually, to my mom, who was, I would say, absolutely homophobic initially, still is a little bit. Aloof every now and afresh she lets apart one. But aback she saw that, I’ll never forget. She goes, “Now I apperceive why bodies abhorrence gay people,” like, watching it, because all the visuals advancing at you about gay bodies are either absolutely sexualized …
Yeah, there were a lot of scenes in that blur …
… Or bloodthirsty or silly, but consistently asleep in the end, and tragic. Consistently adverse and sad and pathetic. And already the images changed, and aback it was Ellen who, everybody brand Ellen, or aback it was “Will and Grace,” aback the images started to change and anybody started to appear out, and abnormally with the acrimony about AIDS, I anticipate that helped ammunition that, Silence = Death.
It was all together. It was a palatability. It was also, no we’re not gonna … Bethink “Angels in America”? “We’re no best gonna be quiet citizens.”
“The white cracker who wrote the civic canticle knew what he was doing,” right?
Yeah. Doing, yeah. Yeah.
“He set the agenda to the chat ‘free’ so high, cipher could ability it.”
Reach it, right. So that was to me, it’s absolutely a absolutely adequate analogy. As bodies got angry, and additionally bodies got adequate … I don’t wanna say, “palatable,” but it’s like you started to apprehend their stories, and afresh it was your friend, and afresh it was …
So that was absolutely my ambition seven years ago, aback I started accomplishing this. And afresh again, attractive at GLAAD, attractive at what they’ve already set up. This is the bigger allotment of our assignment appropriate now.
I fabricated a blur for MTV alleged “White People.” This was three years ago now. Aback we were authoritative it, MTV did a abstraction that was absolutely absorbing to me because I didn’t apperceive this. Seventy-four percent of white bodies alive in predominantly white towns. I did not apperceive that. And 90 percent of white bodies accept predominantly white friends. Additionally did not apperceive that, did not apprehend that.
Meaning what? Acceptation the alone time you would get to apperceive a actuality of blush or an immigrant is the account you absorb and the television shows and movies you watch. What the media tells you about who these bodies are is of complete importance.
At Ascertain American, our two bigger goals is, how do we get the account media to be abundant added amenable and contextual in the way they allocution about it, and in ball media, how do we advice producers, writers, admiral to absolutely better, acquaint added authentic belief of the 43 actor immigrants who’s gonna aggregate the blow of America?
Which is happening, correct?
We’ll be accomplishing a lot of that work. Appropriate now, we consulted on 43 projects with 11 networks. So meaning, they accelerate us scripts …
And you attending at them the way …
And we attending at them, and we’re like, “Ummm…”
Actually, one time … I’m not gonna acknowledgment the show. They were like, “We’re gonna acquaint this undocumented appearance and afresh the abutting adventure we’ll accomplish him legal,” and we’re like, “How?”
“Is it magic? Are you aloof gonna go poof, he’s legal!” But these are well-meaning bodies who are like, “We don’t apperceive that we aloof can’t accomplish them legal.” And I’m cerebration to myself, if Hollywood doesn’t apperceive this …
Then we’re absolutely … so for us that’s absolutely for us in agreement of how do we … what is the cultural chat like? So that’s what we’re aggravating to do.
How does amusing media comedy into it?
Well, the botheration with that is we aloof … You know, it’s so rare. I fabricated an accomplishment in the book to accommodate what it’s been like for me to go on Fox News, what it’s been like for me to absolutely go allocution to conservatives and Republicans who are accessible to deport me aback they see me. And afresh the moment I appearance my tax forms they’re like, “What do you mean, you pay taxes?”
“What? Adolescent man, you should sue the government!”
They turn! The moment they acquisition out I pay taxes and I accept no representation, the libertarians decidedly are like, “What do you mean? You should sue the government!”
No taxation afterwards representation, you actionable immigrant!
Right? So acceptation … but what they’ve been told on Fox Account aback the ’90s, I beggarly the success of the appropriate on this …
That you’re active off the dole.
Yes. The anti-immigrant apparatus as it exists from Fox to Breitbart to Drudge to the White House, there is no agnate on the left. There is no agnate on the left.
And why is that?
Because I think, again, for the best part, bodies are ashore on aloof the action and the backroom of it.
And not the story.
They do not accept that we are absolutely in the average of a ability war. I would altercate that we are in the average of the bigger ability war this country has anytime apparent aback it comes to what this country looks like and area we’re going, and bodies are ashore talking about policy.
On some level, though, what this country looks like, it’s inevitable.
That’s the thing.
The country is alone activity to get gayer.
More women will accept added power. Latinos and Asians … California, Latinos and Asians, you amalgamate them, they’re the majority. This is what America is! But the affair admitting is, how do we … To me, you can’t allocution about clearing afterwards bringing atramentous bodies and white bodies into the conversation. In the aforementioned way that you can’t allocution about gay bodies afterwards bringing in beeline people.
Right? And so it has to be an absolute conversation. And you and I both …
So what prevents it? What prevents it?
People don’t appetite to accept a conversation.
They like to stick to their imagery.
To me, I accept to acquaint you, I’m beat by the accomplished Woke Resistance thing. I acquisition that exhausting.
Because I don’t anticipate bodies absolutely appetite to allocution to bodies who don’t accede with them. I anticipate bodies alone appetite to allocution to bodies who already bolster their point of appearance or their anger. You fabricated a point a few account ago about how blithe I am about all this. If I didn’t accept a faculty of amusement it’d be over. I would’ve left. If I was alone affronted and I didn’t approach my acrimony … Maya Angelou had this abundant adduce once, I’ve apprehend it …
She had so many.
She had so many.
I aloof put one up bygone about my kids!
Oh really? I was bedeviled with PBS aback I was growing up. And she had this abundant account with Bill Moyers. And she talked about, “anger is adequate but you accept to choreograph it. You accept to ball it. You accept to sing it. You accept to abode it.”
Oh, Maya Angelou.
Right? And so I’m angry. Are you badinage me? Of course, I’m angry! I’m affronted that I’m active in a country area best bodies don’t alike amount their citizenship and I can’t accept it!
And you can’t vote and you can’t accept … What?
I can’t vote!
You can’t vote.
That absolutely sucks, man.
I absolutely wanna vote. Although bodies acquaint me all the time, “What do you beggarly you didn’t vote for Hillary Clinton?” What am I activity to vote with? My Bank of America debit card? Like what am I …?
According to Donald Trump, you did vote.
Yes. According to Donald Trump, I did vote.
You illegally accurate immigrant, voting.
So this is absolutely a catechism for me about, again, whom do we accede to be Americans?
What do you accede to be a citizen, then?
The chat citizenship is angelic to me, because I anticipate it’s like alive that I accept a appropriate to exist, but additionally absolutely alive that the apple does not circumduct about me.
Knowing that you and I allotment a space, and you accept your needs and I accept my needs. Bodies now in accelerating backroom talks about this thing, intersectionality. It’s like this appellation now, which is wonderful. But how do you put that into practice? For me, how do you put that into convenance with bodies who don’t accede with you?
Compromising is not a bedraggled word.
So how do you do that?
I’m aggravating to do it one chat at a time.
This seems like the high-water mark of anti-immigration.
Which has happened before.
The alone affinity is the 1920s, that was aback we were adage that the Irish, not the Irish, the Polish and the Italians were not as adorable as the Germans or the British.
And afore that, the Irish.
The Irish, of course. I’ve been absorbed with Irish history. I didn’t apperceive abundant about it.
Oh, it’s brutal.
I did not know. I apprehend “How the Irish Became White.” That was an absorbing read.
But alive that, the aberration though, is all those groups of Europeans could become this affair alleged “white.” Right? Asians and Latinos, some of us try, but we don’t attending white.
That’s a absolutely adequate point.
So that’s why … It’s visible. The aliment is different. The emphasis is different.
I was in Alabama, I’ll never balloon this, a ages afterwards I came out in 2011, I’m like, “Let’s go to Alabama.” Went to Alabama, went to Birmingham.
That’s the aftermost affair I’d do.
I’m a reporter, Kara.
I’ve been to Alabama.
I was appropriate alfresco Birmingham, and the aboriginal affair I do is I go to Walmart.
Which one did you appear out, the gay or the immigrant?
The immigrant. The immigrant, 2011.
Okay, sorry. Because I was like, “Don’t go to Alabama necessarily as a gay, appropriate away.”
So I like to go to Walmart to see what …
Warm up in like Kansas or something.
Warm up in Kansas.
But I capital to apperceive what the indigenous aliment alley is. I’m like, “What do they advertise in the indigenous aliment aisle?” Right?
Went to Walmart, and afresh on one alley there was this Latin woman and her mother, and they were speaking Spanish. In my alley was this aged white woman who afresh says, out loud, “Why can’t they aloof allege English?” So of advance I went to allocution to her. Her name is Connie. I’m like, “Hey, you apperceive …” Usually aback we apprehend this story, you aloof apprehend that there is an aged white woman adage …
So you get 20 account into the conversation, and you apperceive what I acquisition out? Her kids aloof put her in a home. Right? You apperceive what she says, 20 account into the conversation? “What if I don’t allege Spanish?”
Ah. So she was actuality taken affliction of by bodies by bodies speaking …
And I said to her, “Oh you know, I anticipate English is still activity to be the emphasis of the country.” But the fear, the all-overs of about, what if I don’t allege that language?
If I don’t fit anymore.
Yes, it’s 100 percent about abhorrence of actuality …
Where is affinity here? Area does affinity go? I’m not talking about the dark affinity of, you apprehend all these belief about the rural Trump voters. I get all of that, but at the end of the day, I anticipate …
Something absurd happened a few months ago that I’m still affectionate of processing. The academy commune that I abounding aback I was in average academy absitively to name an elementary academy afterwards me, which is bananas.
Oh, wow. What?
It’s crazy. It’s Jose Antonio Vargas Elementary School. It’s a accessible academy from K to fifth grade.
On Whisman Road, six blocks from LinkedIn.
This is crazy. So the administrator contacted me about it aftermost abatement on Twitter, and I anticipation he was joking. Because allegedly there was a ancestor who’s on the lath who appropriate that they name addition contemporary, they had Steve Jobs to accept from, Barrack and Michelle Obama, and somehow I won out. It happened, and I still affectionate of can’t accept it happened, because it’s activity to be 400 kids!
And afresh I started thinking, you know, we are active in a time appropriate now area a association has to adjudge who belongs. I’m from Mountain View. That’s area I’m from. I can acquaint you all the streets in Mountain Appearance and Los Altos and Palo Alto and Sunnyvale.
Let’s accomplishment up talking a little bit about what are you activity to do. You were talking beforehand whether you’re activity to get taken abroad by ICE, because that could appear at any time. Correct?
Any of the book bout stops, but I’ve been able for that for the accomplished seven years. I’ve already gone through the apprehension thing.
Why haven’t they?
I don’t know. I don’t know. I don’t know. It’s not like I’m hiding.
So you were in apprehension and they let you out.
After eight hours. I was alone there for eight hours and afresh I got out.
How’d you get out?
I don’t know. Actually, that’s the thing. In the book I abode about that, because allegedly bodies called, bodies in aerial places, this was aback Obama was still president, and I got out. I bethink afterwards it happened I got so abounding clandestine belletrist from a lot of undocumented bodies and activists who were affronted at me.
Yeah, because you got out.
Because I got out.
Yeah, so now what? You could calmly be detained.
And afresh deported.
Right. Well, this time you’re not accepting out.
Actually, so this is why I don’t … Well, my band belletrist are written. I’m ready, but I’ve been accessible for a while. Here’s my point though, what I’m not accessible for is the cachet quo. Because look, the chat I accept to accept with myself every day is, blockage in this country is my choice. I accept absitively to stay. There are some canicule aback I’m aloof affectionate of like, “Okay, you don’t appetite me here, maybe I should aloof go.”
Because you know, I affectionate of appetite to go see London. Everybody thinks I’m Mexican, I should at atomic go see Mexico. I affectionate of appetite to go see the world. My mom, 25 years, I don’t apperceive what that looks like.
Do you allege to her?
Yeah, of course.
But it’s hard.
I’ve been acknowledging her financially aback I was in my mid-20, like a lot of immigrant families do. But our accord is, I accelerate money every month, and that’s it. I try not to …
Do you accept brothers and sisters at home?
My sister was a year and a bisected aback I left. She’s now 26. I accept a brother who I haven’t met who’s now 20.
But hey, they apperceive me. I’m the guy that sends iPhones. I’m the guy that sends basketball jerseys.
But that’s the affair too, aback I anticipate about immigrants in this country, accurate or undocumented, I anticipate about, we adumbrate the animosity abaft what we buy anniversary other. It’s just, “Hey, you accept an iPhone.” Right?
It’s bigger than eating, right?
It is better, yes.
The cachet quo is the cachet quo. Area is there achievement of this anytime moving?
I find, able-bodied …
Say the Democrats win the House.
And afresh let’s say that they save DACA. Let’s say that they canyon the Dream Act. Let’s say that they put clearing ameliorate on the bill. Here’s the affair though, Kara. How abounding added billions of dollars do you appetite to absorb on this border? Abnormally because that the fastest growing undocumented citizenry are undocumented Asian people.
Right? It’s not Latinos.
That’s a big wall.
It’s an ocean.
It’s an ocean.
It’s Indians, it’s Chinese, it’s Koreans.
What about a bank in the ocean?
So are we activity to face facts about what the affair absolutely is about? Because appropriate now, alike all the Democratic people, alike all the Democratic senators and congresspeople are saying, “Immigration ameliorate is activity to appear with $50 billion aggravating to body a border.” About what?
Which is why this gets aback to the tech community. I don’t like to use the appellation “open borders,” because as far as I’m anxious the country has consistently been accessible so continued as white bodies get to ascertain what accessible is.
But let’s allocution about reality, which is that we are active in the greatest movement the apple has anytime seen. The greatest clearing the apple has anytime seen. Abounding bodies are activity to be brief because of altitude change. We haven’t absolutely alike talked about that, right? Bodies are activity to accept to move because of that. So how can tech companies advice amount out …
How can they?
I anticipate a lot of it is accepting these conversations and accepting platforms, and accept them addition out what alone constitutes citizenship, and how can these countries adequate all these bodies who are advancing to their countries?
But how can they absolutely help? They appear to accept a lot of money, and they accept a lot of influence. But FWD didn’t work, in abounding people’s minds.
Because appropriate now, if you’re attractive at it from a action or law perspective, it hasn’t formed for any of them. Right?
What would you do if you were Mark Zuckerberg? What’s your abutting move?
My abutting move would be aggravating to armamentarium a cultural about-face in this country.
So what Laurene is doing, Laurene Powell Jobs.
More of that. That’s what we’re aggravating to argue bodies to do, not alone because Ascertain American is accomplishing that work, but I accept one alignment accomplishing that assignment that’s activity up adjoin a multi-hundred-million dollar machine.
And afresh there’s RAICES bottomward in Texas, which is accomplishing …
But again, a lot of it is acknowledged services.
Legal services, right.
Right now, best of the money is activity to policy, acknowledged casework … But how do we change the chat association per association per community?
Right, to me, that is area I’m activity to put my work, so continued as I’m still here.
So how do you get that aback you accept such a common adumbration of immigrants? Alike admitting they’re so different, every accumulation is so different, and anybody has altered needs and issues. How do you change that?
First of all, I anticipate we accept to apperceive what it is. For example, we’re absolutely partnering with the Norman Lear Center and the Hollywood Anchorman to absolutely do a abstraction of how immigrants are portrayed in the top 100 television shows. Again, demography a folio out of GLAAD.
So afresh we apperceive that. Bethink aback in the day aback HBO would be like, “We won a GLAAD Award for ‘Angels in America!’” I mean, this is the affinity that I like to say. Alec Baldwin says commodity homophobic. He apologizes the abutting day, he gives money to GLAAD, and afresh poof. Right? In this country, thankfully, we alive in a country area to be aboveboard homophobic is no best culturally acceptable, but we alive in a country area actuality anti-immigrant is not alone acceptable, it wins you the White House.
That, again, that is a cultural shift. That is a cultural shift. Appropriate now … Aback I was in aerial school, I came out in aerial academy aback I was a junior. Aback I accelerating from aerial academy they started a Gay-Straight Alliance. I didn’t apperceive what that was, and so I went aback to the aerial school, and it was so interesting. Twenty members, and best of them were straight.
Yeah, I apperceive that.
I was like, “What? What is this?” So we acclimated that model, so now we accept about 60 Ascertain American academy capacity beyond the country in places that charge them, Nebraska, Iowa. And it’s mostly U.S. aborigine kids, white, black, Latin kids, who accept heard about this clearing affair and they don’t apperceive how to help.
That’s affectionate of how we’re demography what we’re accomplishing nationally at the bounded level.
If you could beachcomber a baton and get rid of one media aperture that’s causing the best …
And you know, I attempt with that because in the beginning, why alike go. Why go on? I’ve been on all of them except Hannity. I haven’t done Hannity. I aloof accept not. Do you advance that I do?
No. You apperceive what? No. That bag of rage, no, there’s nothing. I’m activity to acquisition out he’s like a cross-dressing homosexual. That’s what’s activity …
Okay, that’s hilarious. That’s hilarious.
That’s area it’s headed at some point. Appear on, it’d feel so Jimmy Swaggart to me.
But what I begin out is, I bethink aback I went on Lou Dobbs the aboriginal time, I got an email from the admiral of the Chamber of Commerce in Oklahoma somewhere. And he goes, “Young man, would you appear allocution to my Chamber of Commerce and accompany your tax forms?” So I did. So meaning, I don’t appetite to accept that the bodies who watch Fox Account are the bodies who are on Fox News, and so I’ve gone on absolutely a few times. But for me, we can’t accomplish this artlessly a Democratic issue.
No, 100 percent.
We accept to allocution to as abounding Republicans and conservatives who appetite to do the appropriate thing. That’s why I can’t aloof comedy the accelerating bold here. Progress should not accept a party. Progress should not accept a party.
You’re 100 percent right. So you’re activity on this book tour, and afresh what’s abutting for you? Authoritative Ascertain American.
Define American, so I apply 18 bodies now, which is appealing adequate for me. Right? I’m appreciative to be an undocumented actuality who employs 18 people. We’re growing, thankfully.
And pays taxes.
Whenever I abode that check, “I adulation America. I adulation America. I adulation America. I adulation America.” My grandmother has abundant Medicaid. You apperceive what I mean? She has a amusing account woman in Mountain Appearance who takes affliction of her, so I’m blessed to pay it. I pay taxes, I apply people.
The alone affair for me is like, I aloof can’t let this ascertain me. I can’t aloof be “the undocumented person.”
I’m added than that. That’s why the book, for me, was about ability from all this anecdotal that is all action and backroom driven.
I’m absolutely a animal actuality aggravating to be productive.
It’s additionally the adventure of America. Really. The complete adventure of America, really, if you anticipate about. There’s so abounding apocryphal narratives that get accumulated on top of anniversary other. And I got to say, Trump’s adequate at it.
Very adequate at it.
He’s fabricated it about the … One of the things I was talking about, I was like, “Stop speaking his language. Allege our language.” You apperceive what I mean? Stop talking in his terms. Allocution in our terms.
The catechism now admitting is, what are we aggravating to body together? You apperceive what worries me appropriate now? What worries me appropriate now is it seems to me that a lot of bodies not alone aloof appetite to stick to their group, but it’s about like we don’t appetite white bodies to get involved. There’s this, there’s a lot of letters from Pew saying, “White bodies are activity to become the boyhood in 2050.” It’s like there’s a stopwatch. Can you brainstorm if you’re one of these white bodies in Oklahoma somewhere, you’re watching that watch?
Yeah, it’s terrifying. Yeah.
So afresh how do we accomplish them a allotment of that conversation?
It’s true, but I anticipate it’s multifaceted.
Of advance it is. Totally.
When you anticipate of the gay thing, I anticipate aloof as abundant as the adequate gays started, and the adventure started of blessed gays, affectionate of things, or whatever. I anticipate the acrimony was a analytical allotment of it. I anticipate AIDS was a analytical allotment of it, the AIDS movement. I anticipate if I had to say one accumulation that was the best important, it was Act Up.
Oh yeah, it bankrupt up Larry Kramer aback I was at the Washington Post.
It absolutely fabricated me change.
That was the awakening.
You went along, and you went along, and you array of put up with stuff. That was the moment that I was like, “That’s enough.”
I anticipation what was happening, and what’s accident at the bound with the kids actuality caged, I anticipation that was activity to be an affronted … and it was for like two weeks, and afresh it affectionate of …
Well, that’s because of the account cycle. That’s a accomplished altered story.
But this is area the media allotment of it is so crucial, because afresh how do you accumulate it going?
They tried. You try.
You try. You accumulate trying.
What happens is he creates distractions and distortions. Now we’re accepting a altercation about guys that grope you in aerial school, which I anticipate every woman has those stories, and me too. The account aeon is insane.
Anyway, this is a analytical book you all charge to read. It’s Jose Antonio Vargas, afterwards an accent.
In the e.
“Dear America, Notes of an Undocumented Citizen.” Is that your absolute feel [on the cover]?
Yeah. Oh no, no. That’s my handwriting, that’s not the fingerprint. That is a footfall too far for the lawyers.
Yeah, exactly, I ample that. Anyway, it was abundant talking to you. Thanks for advancing on the show.
Thank you for accepting me.
You’re a abundant aborigine of this country.
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