News Releases

Pulitzer Prize-Winning Journalist and Undocumented Immigrant Jose Antonio Vargas to Discuss Immigration Myths at Ithaca College

 ITHACA, NY — Journalist Jose Antonio Vargas — who recently “outed” himself as an undocumented immigrant to the U.S. — will give a free public lecture at Ithaca College on Monday, Dec. 5. His talk, “Immigration . . . Beyond Media Myths,” is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. in Emerson Suites, Phillips Hall. It is sponsored by the Park Center for Independent Media.

In a “New York Times Magazine” essay published in June, Vargas described how he was sent from the Philippines to live with his grandparents in the United States at age 12, did not learn of his undocumented status until age 16 and went on to become a successful multimedia journalist. His article, “My Life as an Undocumented Immigrant,” drew both praise and condemnation, with some calling for his deportation.

Vargas began his professional career at the “Washington Post,” where he wrote on everything from video-game culture to the HIV/AIDS epidemic to the role of technology and social media in the 2008 presidential election, and won a Pulitzer Prize as part of a team covering the Virginia Tech shootings. In 2009 he joined the “Huffington Post” as a senior contributing editor, launching its Tech and College sections. He left to write for magazines, including a profile of Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg for the “New Yorker,” and he adapted his AIDS articles for an independent documentary film, “The Other City.”

After exposing his status, Vargas founded the nonprofit project Define American to promote dialogue about our “broken immigration system.” He advocates for the DREAM (Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors) Act, which could put certain immigrants who came to this country as youths on a path to U.S. citizenship.

Based in the Roy H. Park School of Communications at Ithaca College, the Park Center for Independent Media was launched in 2008 as a national center for the study of media outlets that create and distribute content outside traditional corporate systems. For more information, visit or contact Jeff Cohen, director of the center, at