Jose Antonio Vargas is an award-winning Filipino-American journalist. He gained great acclaim for his coverage of the Virginia Tech shootings, HIV and gay politics, as well as for his New York Times Magazine essay on his status as an undocumented immigrant. His news team won a 2008 Pulitzer Prize for Breaking News Reporting.
Vargas immigrated to the United States in 1993, at age 12. He was sent, without obtaining permanent resident authorization, to live with his grandparents in Mountain View, California. Vargas did not learn of his immigration status until he attempted to obtain a driver's license. Following this, Vargas decided to keep his immigration status a secret, allowing him to pursue an education at San Francisco State University, earning a degree in Political Science and Black Studies.
Vargas was hired by The Washington Post upon his 2004 graduation. His teams coverage of the Virginia Tech shootings, their coverage earning a Pulitzer Prize.
In 2009, Vargas began work for The Huffington Post, joining as Technology and Innovations Editor. He is also known for his work on the AIDS epidemic in Washington DC, inspiring a full-length documentary called The Other City, which premiered at the 2010 Tribeca Film Festival and aired on Showtime.
In 2011, he wrote an essay about his immigration status, earning an award from The Sidney Hillman Foundation for his outstanding piece of socially-conscious journalism. Vargas followed up by creating Define American, a project organized around fostering dialogue about the DREAM Act.
In 2012, Vargas wrote a TIME cover story about the uncertainty of his life following his public reveal as an undocumented immigrant a year prior. The day after the article appeared, President Obama announced that the United States would halt deportations for undocumented immigrants under age 30 who would qualify for DREAM Act relief and that they would be provided work permits. Vargas hailed this development as a victory for DREAMers.
Garnering all these achievements by age 31, Vargas is part of a group of emerging new voices in American journalism.