Tag Archives: undocumented immigrants

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:


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?

In bypassing Dream Act, the Senate shows no vision in creating positive immigration reform

What’s with the Senate’s inaction to move on the Dream Act?

Vindicative, close-minded conservatives have blocked a provision that would allow industrious undocumented students a chance to prove their worth in American society. 

With the Dream Act, a high school student could have been given a pathway to citizenship with the right to attend college or join the military.

Instead, a Senate, lacking vision, has snuffed out those dreams, and killed the measure.

These are the immigrants we want in America. They are innocent children whose families came here looking for opportunity. 

When you say no to these young people, you only expose the cruel illogic of anti-immigration advocates.