Can the Undocumented 'Earn' Citizenship?

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  • Published on:  8/16/2018
  • “I'm here as an undocumented immigrant with no papers, no green card, no passport, and no legal documents, but I am still a citizen of this country,” says Jose Antonio Vargas in a new video filmed at the 2018 Aspen Ideas Festival.

    Vargas, an accomplished journalist whose work has garnered him a Pulitzer Prize, was smuggled into the U.S. at age 12 by his Filipino mother. Although he was raised by his grandparents, who were naturalized citizens, Vargas was never granted American citizenship. In a 2011 essay in The New York Times Magazine, Vargas revealed his status as undocumented. Ever since, he has been a vocal advocate for pathways to citizenship, such as the DREAM Act.

    “There's no process for the estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants like me to get legal,” Vargas says in the video. He goes on to explain why the concept of “earning” citizenship is problematic.

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