The Dream Act Revisited

June 25, 2011

Most of you have probably already read the story of Jose Antonio Vargas, a Filipino reporter for The Huffington Post who has written a piece for the New York Times Magazine which discloses the fact that he is an illegal immigrant. Now, there are a number of issues to address in this controversy, not the least of which is the propriety of a journalist using his status in order to lobby for the enactment of a specific piece of legislation-in this case, the DREAM Act.

There’s a rich history in this country of tendentious journalism, from the time of ¬†Hamiltonian/Federalist and Jeffersonian Democrat political battles waged in print, to the viciously partisan newspapers of the Civil War era, to the yellow journalism of the late 19th century. However, the idea of using your platform as a reporter in order to lobby on behalf of bills from which you will directly benefit is something new, and more in line with the work of a political activist, not an ostensibly objective reporter.

Even more troubling is the deception and fraud Mr. Vargas employed in order to obtain his current, enviable occupation as a respected journalist. Nowhere in the New York Times Magazine piece does Vargas reveal where the fake documents he used were obtained, or if the false Social Security number he used was stolen from an American citizen who was the victim of identity fraud, an increasingly common occurrence. It seems that these questions were not even considered by the community of¬†journalists who have lauded their undocumented colleague for his “courageous” act of stepping out from “the shadows.” The fact that a group of liberal journalists who support open borders would rush to the defense of an illegal alien who validates their political ideology is not surprising. Which isn’t to say that there aren’t reporters casting a gimlet eye upon Mr. Vargas, the most prominent among them being Jack Shafer, who wrote a compelling piece for Slate explaining why this undocumented writer can’t be trusted.

For a full accounting of what we’ve discovered so far about this case, I recommend reading a story in the Atlantic Wire. If nothing else, it makes ineluctably clear one fact. Namely, that the entire career of Jose Antonio Vargas, up to this point, has been built upon deceit and manipulation of the system. Don’t expect anyone in the mainstream media-engaged in perpetual pandering on this issue-to ask which legal, American journalist was displaced by the actions of Mr. Vargas, nor what subsidiary crimes were involved in his quest to remain in the United States illegally. The end-goal of this public declaration is to expand upon the de facto amnesty that already exists in this country, a situation caused in large measure because of the dereliction of duty by the colleagues of Mr. Vargas, who prefer partisan activism to unearthing the truth.

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