Dear America

Dear America

Notes of An Undocumented Citizen

Book - 2018
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"The movement of people--what Americans call 'immigration' and the rest of the world calls 'migration'--is among the defining issues of our time. Technology and information crosses countries and continents at blistering speed. Corporations thrive on being multinational and polyglot. Yet the world's estimated 244 million total migrant population, particularly those deemed 'illegal' by countries and societies, are locked in a chaotic and circular debate about borders and documents, assimilation and identity. An issue about movement seems immovable: politically, culturally and personally. Dear America: Notes Of An Undocumented Citizen is an urgent, provocative and deeply personal account from Jose Antonio Vargas, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist who happens to be the most well-known undocumented immigrant in the United States. Born in the Philippines and brought to the U.S. illegally as a 12-year-old, Vargas hid in plain-sight for years, writing for some of the most prestigious news organizations in the country (The Washington Post, The New Yorker) while lying about where he came from and how he got here. After publicly admitting his undocumented status--risking his career and personal safety--Vargas has challenged the definition of what it means to be an American, and has advocated for the human rights of immigrants and migrants during the largest global movement of people in modern history. Both a letter to America and a window into Vargas's America, this book is a transformative argument about migration and citizenship, and an intimate, searing exploration on what it means to be home when the country you call your home doesn't consider you one of its own"-- Provided by publisher.
Publisher: New York : Dey St., [2018]
Edition: First edition
Copyright Date: ©2018
ISBN: 9780062851352
Branch Call Number: B V4263V 2018
Characteristics: xiii, 232 pages ; 21 cm


From Library Staff

Jende, Neni and Liomi are fictional versions of the millions of undocumented immigrants living and working in the United States. In this thought-provoking and moving memoir, journalist Vargas recounts his experiences of growing up undocumented in the US.

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Jan 27, 2021

The author writes like the reporter that he is - very succinct and without a lot of flowery descriptors. A quick read. I found his story about the trials and tribulations of our immigrant population - and particularly 'the dreamers' - most disturbing. I also found his insights - as an immigrant - into the issue of race in America quite interesting. Before he came here, he didn't know that there were BPOC and white Americans - he just assumed we were all Americans. (And indeed, aren't we? But as a white woman, my perspective is racist - or so the author of "White Fragility" says.) As Jose so rightly points out, what the average American knows about immigration is deplorable. He is brave to 'come out' of the immigration closet and shed light on the situation. Until the lights are turned on, it can't be fixed. An important read.

Mar 05, 2020

Vargas, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, writes in this poignant book about this experiences since immigrating as a child from the Philippines, discovering at the age of sixteen, to his surprise and horror, that he was in fact undocumented. Despite the fortune of connections to friends and colleagues who were able to help open doors to education and employment that would otherwise have been inaccessible, Vargas lived in fear every day since that revelation -- until he decided, through his writing, to go public with his story.

Vargas' experiences illustrate painfully just how incredibly broken and inequitable the immigration system is in the United States, leaving the reader musing over questions like "What does it actually mean to be an American?" and "What is citizenship?" I facilitated the discussion for this book at my library's adult book club, and right off the bat we all marveled that none of us had ever heard of the author previously. It felt to me as though some of the childhood anecdotes included were perhaps invented or at least exaggerated for comedic value, but that did little to take away from how heartbreaking (and infuriating) the truth about immigration policy is.

nsalenga85 Feb 23, 2020

This is a great book when Jose Antonio Vargas was only twelve years old when he was brought to the United States from the Philippines to live with his grandparents having no idea that his family had done it illegally until the day he applied for a learner's permit that he discovered the shocking truth that he hid in plain sight keeping his immigration status a secret while he reported & written for some of the most prestigious news in the country for more than 14 years as he reached the point where he could no longer hide his truth after he only publicly admitted that he was undocumented that he could begin to challenge what it means to be a American when he called home doesn't considered his one of his own.

Jan 13, 2020

We can all learn from Vargas's life struggle. I assume that is what he sought when deciding to "come out." Vargas had a better life than most undocumented and documented US residents. He's intelligent, accomplished and very successful. He also has many sympathetic mentors and supporters. He could have likely kept his secret and continue to lie about his residency status. But the untruths haunted him. He saw the unfairness of his status, and he believes he can convey those injustices to us. Tucker Carlson, of Fox News, had the gall to tell Vargas, to his face and on the air, that he did not "deserve" to be a resident. Frankly, Vargas has done much more than most to earn a citizenship anywhere in this world, but he wants to live in the country that is his home.

Rebecca_Kohn Nov 24, 2019

Important first person account of immigration status in 21st century America. Jose Antonio Vargas shares his personal experience in navigating the complexities of obtaining identification, access to education, and living between two worlds. A well written, thoughtful, and honest books that should be widely read.

VaughanPLDaniela Jul 10, 2019

An eye opening account of life as an "illegal" immigrant in the United States. Born in the Philippines, Jose Antonio Vargas was just 12 years old when he was sent to America to live with his mother's parents. As a young adult, Vargas discovered his papers were fake, leading to job insecurity, fear of deportation and a very uncertain future. Through his platform as a journalist, Vargas explores the complexities, anxieties, and hardship faced by the estimated eleven million undocumented immigrants living in America.

CarleeMcDot Mar 27, 2019

I came across this book because someone had recently left a review of it on the library's website (and since I feel like I am one of the very few people who does that it stuck out to me). The review was positive so I put the book on my list to grab and am very happy I did. I will be completely honest, I don't know a ton about immigration, even though I live less than 50 miles from the Mexico border. This book provided eye-opening insight on what an undocumented citizen goes through on a daily basis. The author of the book may have a slightly different story from others, but the themes are the same - lying, passing and hiding. Not only did this book inform me about a lot of the policies and regulations (without being too dry and boring), it really hit home when it got to the heart of the matter - who (or what) is an American? I was very appreciative that Jose mentioned the language we use surrounding immigration. Words can have lasting consequences and I know I will be more careful with what I say. The book isn't super long (and actually wished it was longer) so I was able to fly through it in an afternoon. I can see how Jose has made a name for himself as a journalist, his writing really draws you in. I would give it a 9 out of 10.

vnsa058 Mar 13, 2019

Very glad I read this. Provides a lot of insight into what it really means to be an undocumented citizen in a country where they are vilified.

Jan 03, 2019

Really Good book

Nov 13, 2018

Jose Vargas provides a sincere, raw, and heart wrenching look at what it is like to be stuck in the position of being a human being without the proper paper work to live in the United States. He shows us that undocumented individuals are people too with complex personal stories. He also helps us understand that the immigration debate is not clear cut. A very moving book that made me cry.

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