Jose Antonio Vargas came to the US when he was 12 from the Philippines because his mother sent him here to live a better life. He obviously didn’t make that choice on his own, but he has made many choices since then that have kept him outside US immigration law. And of course, Mr. Vargas the spelling bee and Pulitzer winner who wrote for two of the nation’s top newspapers (the Times and the Washington Post) is utterly typical of illegal aliens. Utterly and totally, the typical illegal alien.
Well, obviously he isn’t, unless we have handed out between 12 and 20 million Pulitzers over the past decade or two to the millions of illegal aliens who have also worked across the big names in the liberal media. But in one respect at least, he is typical.
He took at least two jobs that otherwise would have gone to others who are here legally.
He used false documents — a fake green card, a fake Social Security card, and a fake passport to get the fake Social Security number.
Despite having lived in America for over 14 years, he has never bothered himself to get right with the legal system.
He even inadvertently screwed his school choir out of a trip to Japan.
After a choir rehearsal during my junior year, Jill Denny, the choir director, told me she was considering a Japan trip for our singing group. I told her I couldn’t afford it, but she said we’d figure out a way. I hesitated, and then decided to tell her the truth. “It’s not really the money,” I remember saying. “I don’t have the right passport.” When she assured me we’d get the proper documents, I finally told her. “I can’t get the right passport,” I said. “I’m not supposed to be here.”
She understood. So the choir toured Hawaii instead, with me in tow.
He got a scholarship that presumably would have gone to someone else.
He established a network of friends who helped him continue to skirt immigration law, as an adult.
He even managed to get around the Secret Service and visited the White House as a journalist. If he can do that, who else can do that?
Look, I’m glad that Mr. Vargas has confirmed that America really is still the land of opportunity. He is obviously very smart, smart enough to land and keep good jobs, and smart enough to figure out how to game the system for years. But no one should kid themselves: Aside from the crimes he has committed to stay here, Vargas is atypical. Illegal aliens tend to be drains on our resources. I know of one small county here in Texas that has a 30-slot jail, and right now all five inmates there are illegal aliens awaiting transfers and perhaps deportation.
INS ICE has left one of them languishing since November, on the county’s tab. How many other counties nationwide have similar problems? The state of California alone spends nearly $1 billion per year housing illegal alien inmates. So for every Jose Antonio Vargas out there, there are dozens and maybe hundreds of illegal aliens who not only flout immigration law as a matter of routine, as he did, but they also end up hurting America in other ways.
One last little factoid learned from the biography of Mr. Vargas: It’s evidently easier for an illegal alien to get a job at the Huffington Post, than it is for a conservative American citizen to keep a job there. Just ask Andrew Breitbart.