Jose Antonio Vargas Considered Moving to Canada

Jose Antonio Vargas at the Know Your Rights forum (Photo by Lambert Parong/ Kababayan Media via The FilAm)

Jose Antonio Vargas, the founder of Define American and a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist who revealed his undocumented status in 2011, said at the June 16 Know Your Rights forum that he had considered moving to Canada. That is, until House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi called in February inviting him as a guest to President Trump’s State of the Union.

“Nancy Pelosi helped me wake up,” he said.

In reporting on the forum, held at the St. Francis of Assisi Church in Manhattan, The FilAm’s Cristina DC Pastor writes:

On February 28, he sat across from Trump as the new president unveiled plans to create VOICE, an office devoted to victims of immigration crime.


Vargas said ICE (U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement) under the Trump administration tends to “blur the line” between an undocumented immigrant and a criminal.

The advice to go to Canada came from Vargas’s lawyers. His legal team had cautioned him against doing a lot of traveling because he could be arrested at any time while boarding planes. In Canada, there won’t be any immigration anxieties to worry about. Vargas – who holds a Philippine passport — said he balked because “traveling is what I do” and to stop doing it would be “disorienting.”

The immigrant activist recounted the initial reaction back then from his family and friends when he was thinking of revealing his immigration status. For this and more on the forum, go to The FilAm.

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