Jose Antonio Vargas' "Undocumented" to screen in 10 US cities

By Don Tagala, ABS-CBN North America Bureau

April 23, 2014

New York – Pulitzer prize-winning journalist and film maker Jose Antonio Vargas’ “Documented” – a documentary on his life and journey as an undocumented immigrant in America is now gaining momentum.

After a preview screening and panel discussion at the Museum of the Moving Image in New York last week, “Documented” will be screening in 10 US cities before its TV premiere on CNN this summer.

The former Washington Post reporter said this documentary is about humanizing the issue of the 11 million or so undocumented immigrants in the US. It’s a story of a Filipino family’s struggle after being separated by the broken US immigration system.

“We’re premiering here in New York for a week, then we’re going to be in LA, we’re going to Pheonix, San Diego, Chicago, Denver, and hopefully the Filipino Communities in those areas, you know really show up, as you know, the film, a third of it is in Tagalog,” Vargas said. “I’m so proud of the film, that the film really captures the Filipino American experience.”

While the “Documented” US tour is in full swing, the US immigration overhaul has been stalled in Congress.

President Obama, whom Vargas often refers to as the “Deporter-in-Chief,” has promised to pass a comprehensive immigration reform in 2014 – but Vargas believes that promise may not happen at all this year.

“It would be intellectually dishonest for me to say that Obama is the only person to blame. You know, at the end of the day you have a dysfunctional Congress that doesn’t want to do anything.” Vargas said. “Does he really want to be remembered as the president who deported two million people in five years? I don’t think he does.”

New York City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito says that on a state level, there may be some other ways to provide the undocumented some forms of relief while immigration reform is stalled.

Mark-Viverito said, ”Because of that lack of movement and commitment to get something done at the federal level, we’re seeing states and we’re seeing municipalities take it upon themselves to see what they can do. We’re seeing states pass the Dream Act — local State Dream Act.”

“In terms of legislation, I’m not that optimistic,” Vargas added. “What I am optimistic about is how can individual states take leadership. I mean the fact that Gov. Jerry Brown of California reversed his decision and decided to grant licenses to undocumented driver is a really good sign.”

On a personal level, after being separated from his mother for over 20 years, Vargas had only one big birthday wish this year.

“To have a green card, and to have any kind of card you know,” Vargas said. “But there’s one wish, is that I get to see my mom and I’m trying everything I possibly can to make that a reality before the year is over.”

Documented premieres in New York at the City Cinemas Village East on May 2 through May 8.

You may conatct Don Tagala at for more information.

One Comment

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  • JRB
    24 April 2014 at 5:22 pm - Reply

    Tell me why this guy Antonio Vargas still in America, he should have been deported long time ago, he’s Illegally in America ? Obama you should deport Vargas to where he belongs not in America. Vargas is making fun of you Obama, he thinks he can’t be touch by you Obama and America ?