Friday, June 24, 2011

Vargas Violations

If we were to prepare a case against Jose Antonio Vargas based on his own story in The New York Times, we would come up with the following counts.  (Note: The blue text is the actual verbiage in the Vargas story, presumably his own words.)

Fake uncle-Philippines: I was introduced to a man I’d never seen. They told me he was my uncle. He held my hand as I boarded an airplane for the first time.

California DMV clerk: One day when I was 16, I rode my bike to the nearby D.M.V. office to get my driver’s permit.

Lolo (Jose’s grandfather): But instead of mentioning that my mother was a married woman, he listed her as single.

Lolo: The “uncle” who brought me here turned out to be a coyote, not a relative, my grandfather later explained. Lolo scraped together enough money — I eventually learned it was $4,500, a huge sum for him — to pay him to smuggle me here under a fake name and fake passport.

Lolo: After I arrived in America, Lolo obtained a new fake Filipino passport, in my real name this time…

Lolo: … adorned with a fake student visa…

Lolo: … in addition to the fraudulent green card.

Lolo and Vargas: Using the fake passport, we went to the local Social Security Administration office and applied for a Social Security number and card.

Lolo and Vargas: When I began looking for work, a short time after the D.M.V. incident, my grandfather and I took the Social Security card to Kinko’s, where he covered the “I.N.S. authorization” text with a sliver of white tape.

Vargas: While in high school, I worked part time at Subway…

Vargas: … then at the front desk of the local Y.M.C.A….

Vargas: … then at a tennis club…

Vargas: … until I landed an unpaid internship at The Mountain View Voice, my hometown newspaper….eventually I began covering city-hall meetings and other assignments for pay.

His employers: …employers have rarely asked to check my original Social Security card. When they did, I showed the photocopied version, which they accepted.

Vargas: I also began checking the citizenship box on my federal I-9 employment eligibility forms.

Jill Denny, the choir director and Vargas: …told me she was considering a Japan trip for our singing group. I told her I couldn’t afford it, but she said we’d figure out a way. I hesitated, and then decided to tell her the truth. “It’s not really the money,” I remember saying. “I don’t have the right passport.” When she assured me we’d get the proper documents, I finally told her. “I can’t get the right passport,” I said. “I’m not supposed to be here.”  She understood. So the choir toured Hawaii instead.

Lolo: I needed to marry an American woman in order to gain a green card.

Pat Hyland, HS principal: …they connected me to a new scholarship fund for high-potential students who were usually the first in their families to attend college. Most important, the fund was not concerned with immigration status. I was among the first recipients, with the scholarship covering tuition, lodging, books and other expenses for my studies at San Francisco State University.

Rich Fischer, Superintendent of schools: See Pat Hyland above.

San Francisco State University:  As a college freshman…

The San Francisco Chronicle: I found a job working part time…

The Philadelphia Daily News: First I landed at The Philadelphia Daily News, in the summer of 2001…

Vargas:  My only solution, the lawyer said, was to go back to the Philippines and accept a 10-year ban before I could apply to return legally.

Rich Fischer: “Put this problem on a shelf,” he told me. “Compartmentalize it. Keep going.”

A friend’s father: …he allowed me to use his address as proof of residency.

Rich Fischer: … sent letters to me at that address.

Pat Hyland: … sent letters to me at that address.

Mary Moore: … sent letters to me at that address.

Oregon DMV: At the D.M.V. in Portland, I arrived with my photocopied Social Security card, my college I.D., a pay stub from The San Francisco Chronicle and my proof of state residence — the letters to the Portland address that my support network had sent. It worked. My license, issued in 2003, was set to expire eight years later, on my 30th birthday, on Feb. 3, 2011.  The license meant everything to me — it would let me drive, fly and work.

Vargas: I was using an invalid Social Security card and writing false information on my employment forms.
The Washington Post: …offering me a full-time, two-year paid internship that I could start when I graduated in June 2004.

Peter Perl, Washington Post employee: I told him everything: the Social Security card, the driver’s license, Pat and Rich, my family.  Peter was shocked. “I understand you 100 times better now,” he said. He told me that I had done the right thing by telling him, and that it was now our shared problem. He said he didn’t want to do anything about it just yet. I had just been hired, he said, and I needed to prove myself.

Huffington Post: I left the paper and moved to New York to join The Huffington Post. I met Arianna Huffington at a Washington Press Club Foundation dinner I was covering for The Post two years earlier, and she later recruited me to join her news site.

Arianna Huffington: see Huffington Post above.

Vargas: But I’d been able to get jobs in other newsrooms, I figured, so I filled out the paperwork as usual and succeeded in landing on the payroll.

Washington State DMV and Vargas: I obtained a driver’s license in the state of Washington.

That's quite a list of indictments!  Note that all of his co-conspirators fall into four categories:
  • Relatives
  • Educators
  • Journalists
  • DMV Bureaucrats in liberal states
Let the charges and investigations begin! 

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