This is not a rhetorical question: would you have the guts to appear on the cover of Time magazine if you were in their shoes?
Featured on the magazine’s cover between the phrases “We Are Americans*” and “*Just not legally,” Vargas is joined by other undocumented immigrants from around the world. The men and women pictured along with Vargas also recently came out of the shadows and revealed their immigration status publicly.
In the introduction to the cover story, Vargas argues that the immigration system is fundamentally broken and that it prevents deserving candidates, many of who identify as American, from residing in the country legally. Vargas also discusses his new campaign, Define American.
“I founded a campaign called Define American, to document the lives of the undocumented and harness the support of our allies around this very controversial and misunderstood issue,” Vargas writes. “There are an estimated 11.5 million people like me in this country, human beings with stories as varied as America itself, yet lacking a legal claim to exist here,” Vargas adds.
There has never been an American administration more likely to order the deportation of otherwise law-abiding people, with families who rely on them and lives built in America. Three hundred and ninety seven thousand were deported in 2011 alone. Would you have the guts to stand up as an illegal and call for changes to the system that breaks families apart?
Honestly, I don’t think I’m brave enough for that. I don’t think I’m brave enough to risk an eight year old autistic child who has had his Daddy around to help and educate him every day of his life wondering aloud for a year, 18 months or more where Daddy has gone. I couldn’t do it.
Update: Obama finally takes some affirmative action. It’s politically motivated, it’s not enough and it’s taken to long – but that shouldn’t detract from the hope it gives 800,000 young people. Thirty-two of the thirty-three people on that Time cover above are now safe. Jose isn’t, he’s too old by a year for Obama’s initiative.