BA story: Undocumented Filipino Jose Antonio Vargas receives honorary doctorate degree

NEW YORK — As a fierce advocate for justice, outspoken undocumented Filipino Jose Antonio Vargas was bestowed with an honorary doctorate at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice commencement ceremony in New York City on Wednesday.

Vargas was conferred the degree of doctor of letters, honoris causa.

“It’s rather ironic that the leading public institution for criminal justice is giving an honorary degree to someone that President Trump calls an illegal criminal, so I’m really honored for that,” Vargas said.

An undocumented immigrant for 24 years now, Jose antonio vargas became a journalist – a Pulitzer prize winning journalist at that.

But even having his name printed in important publications did not give him that American dream.

“When people ask for papers wondering why I’m here, to prove that I did exist in this country and in america, I will show them this honorary degree from John Jay College.”

Vargas joins the ranks of veteran newscaster Ted Koppel, award-winning playright Eve Ensler, and pioneering data journalist David Burnham of the New York Times to become recipients of the John Jay College honorary doctorates.”

“I’ve never heard of a criminal justice college ever honor an undocumented person with an honorary degree,” said Dr, Kevin Nadal. “This is truly a demonstration that john jay college is really committed to justice of all people.”

Vargas dedicates this rare honor to all the undocumented graduates of the class of 2017.

“I’m actually dedicating the honorary degree to all undocumented graduates this year,” he shared. “In spite of waking up every day in a country that doesn’t want you here, in spite all the negative hateful ignorant rhetoric, especially coming from our own president… undocumented graduates are here, thriving; they’re succeeding, they’re graduating.”

Vargas says, to honor him is to honor the sacrifices of his family, especially his Lolas.

“Very proud ako sa kanya, sa nakamit niyang karangalan ngayong araw na ito,” said Leonila Salinas.

“One very simple wish, sana naman ma-recognize yung kanyang effort — bottom line, greencard!” said Aida Rivera.

John Jay College of Criminal Justice is the only liberal arts college with a criminal justice and forensic focus in the united states.

With more than 4,000 graduates from 68 countries, including undocumented students, it’s one of the most diverse graduating class of 2017.


2 Comments on this post.

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  • h
    11 June 2017 at 10:35 pm - Reply

    Tell me when the FBI going pick this illegal up and deport him out of America. This guy is illegal and he thinks he can get away with it. I’m planning to call the “ICE” and ask about this illegal guy name Jose Vargas why they having pick him up and deport him yet. Or he acts so “BRAVE.” But he should be “DEPORTED.” now.

  • Santiago Del Mundo
    20 June 2017 at 11:00 am - Reply

    According to Doctor Gener-Med Acob (NY,2016), working as a doctor in New York and Pennsylvania, he couldn’t even get a Pulitzer award? While Jose Antonio Vargas gets an honorary degree (for what…crying and bitching through the media) from a university he’d never heard before.