Tag Archives: Dream Act

Jose Antonio Vargas–the undocumented, not the illegal

Talked to an editor friend about Jose Antonio Vargas, an award winning Filipino American reporter who revealed his life as an undocumented person recently in a  New York Times Magazine article.

The editor pal said he’s not “undocumented.” He just had fake documents.

But I pointed out since the documents were fake they are non-documents, hence Vargas is still technically “undocumented.”

To which the editor-friend replied, that to the people Vargas presented the fake documents it appeared he had documents, which actually  would make Vargas a “falsely documented person.”

OK. But still basically undocumented.

The reason we have debates like this is that people tend to call the undocumented  “illegals.”

Illegal  is used as a noun, which is not proper and offensive when applied to people who should be presumed innocent.

“Illegal” can  be used appropriately, as an adjective or adverb. You can be a person who enters illegally. But you can’t be an illegal.

Sure, the shortcut is lost on texters and butchers of the language, but once explained you can see why “undocumented” is the  preferred term for people who entered  this country outside the law, or illegally.

But they aren’t “illegals.”  Those are sick birds.

They may be  illegal entrants, but as people they are undocumented.

My editor pal objected still and  said undocumented is like a sanitized euphemism. Like calling a janitor a “sanitary engineer.”

But I tell him insisting on “undocumented”  doesn’t sanitize or euphemize, it humanizes. It’s an appropriate balance to calling them “illegals” which only  vilifies and criminalizes unfairly.

For my take on Vargas, the new face of the undocumented, check out my blog at:


President Obama fails us again: Reaganomics passes, but Dream Act doesn’t?

Does President Obama have any credibility now with the legions of people who believed in his mission of hope and change?

The Tax-cut bill was not just an extension of Bushonomics, it was a revival of Reaganomics. We already know trickle down theories are ineffective and yet that was worth compromise?

That was bad enough. But today, considering all the arm-twisting that goes on, couldn’t  he get a few more Republicans to trade  their  tax cut vote  for the Dream Act?

The Dream Act at least reduces the deficit.

Could it be that the racial component of immigration was too much for logic to triumph?

Sad, sad commentary that the majority refuses to recognize the talented innocents who came to this country with their undocumented parents.  These are the ones worth keeping, not deporting.  

This was President Obama’s very hollow statement on the failure of the Senate to pass the Dream Act (from a White House e-mail:

In an incredibly disappointing vote today, a minority of Senators prevented the Senate from doing what most Americans understand is best for the country. As I said last week, when the House passed the DREAM Act, it is not only the right thing to do for talented young people who seek to serve a country they know as their own, it is the right thing for the United States of America. Our nation is enriched by their talents and would benefit from the success of their efforts. The DREAM Act is important to our economic competitiveness, military readiness, and law enforcement efforts. And as the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office reported, the DREAM Act would cut the deficit by $2.2 billion over the next 10 years. There was simply no reason not to pass this important legislation. It is disappointing that common sense did not prevail today.  But my administration will not give up on the DREAM Act, or on the important business of fixing our broken immigration system.   The American people deserve a serious debate on immigration, and it’s time to take the polarizing rhetoric off our national stage.  I thank Senators Durbin, Reid, and Menendez for their tireless efforts. Moving forward, my administration will continue to do everything we can to fix our nation’s broken immigration system so that we can provide lasting and dedicated resources for our border security while at the same time restoring responsibility and accountability to the system at every level. 

Keep Dreaming: Dream Act vote on hold in Senate

The fight over taxes trumped the fight over the undocumented this week.  No time for GOP handwringing over “illegals.” The rich want to make sure they get their dole extended.

I hope the people who want the tax cuts know that the undocumented pay more than their share in taxes.  They don’t need a tax cut. But they sure merit a reward for being productive members of our society. Residency, citizenship? None of that should be withheld.

The House passed the Dream Act this week to give the young undocumented hope.   But passing the dream in the Senate will be a problem next week.

On Thursday, the Senate voted  to put off the measure till next week because many Senate Republicans said they’d filibuster the bill if it came up before the tax compromise.

So the delay gives more time for supporters  to lobby.

Check out my regular post  to see the key senators who are important in the vote. It’s on my regular column/blog:


It’s not as dreamy as I’d like, but Congress set to vote on Dream Act this week

Check out my blog post on the uphill battle for the Dream Act  at the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund website:


Many GOPers are planning to vote against the Dream Act. 

They’re not thinking.

All those undocumented students that would be legalized become voters for life. Voting for the Dream Act is ultimately a selfish act for a GOP legislator.

But they’re stuck in the old closed-minded thinking about immigration that believes the undocumented shouldn’t be rewarded for becoming educated and productive taxpayers. To them, the dream is to send people back to their countries and cut off any new access to the border.

That’s not my dream. Is it yours?