By Don Tagala, ABS-CBN North America Bureau
February 14, 2013
Award-winning undocumented Filipino journalist Jose Antonio Vargas
testified before the Senate judiciary committee hearing on immigration
reform on Wednesday.
During his emotional testimony, Vargas was joined by his naturalized
American family, his grandmother Leonia, his aunt and uncle.
Vargas revealed that he is the only undocumented one among his 25 extended
family of U.S. citizens in America.
“I am in America because of the sacrifices of my family. My
grandparents legally emigrated from the Philippines to Silicon Valley
in the mid-1980s. A few years later, Grandpa Teofilo became a U.S.
citizen and legally changed his name to Ted–after Ted Danson in
“Cheers.” Because grandparents cannot petition for their
grandkids–and because my mother could not come to the United
States–grandpa saved up money to get his only grandson, me, a
passport and green card to come to America. My mother gave me up to
give me a better life,” said Vargas.
In his testimony, Vargas said that he and others like him “dream of a
path to citizenship so we can actively participate in our American
democracy.” He ended his prepared statement by asking senators for
their solution for undocumented immigrants like him.
“Immigration is about our future. Immigration is about all of us and
before we take your questions, I have a few of my own: What do you
want to do with me? For all the undocumented immigrants who are
actually sitting here at this hearing, for the people watching online
and for the 11 million of us, what do you want to do with us?” Vargas