Vargas to Colbert: Call us undocumented, not illegal

Posted at 07/17/11 10:58 AM

NEW YORK – Pulitzer Prize-winning Filipino journalist Jose Antonio Vargas, who had come out and revealed to the world that he is an undocumented immigrant, was a guest Thursday on the Emmy Award-winning political satire show, The Colbert Report.

On the show, host Stephen Colbert said, "My guest tonight is a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist who recently admitted that he is an illegal immigrant so I will pay him half of nothing I pay my guests."

"I grew up here. This is my home. I've been here since I was 12," Vargas told Colbert. "I'm an American. I just don't have the right kind of papers."

Colbert insisted on calling Vargas an illegal alien. But Vargas quickly defended himself and others like him, saying that they should be called "undocumented immigrants" because they were not illegal in the country.

Colbert then asked Vargas a daring question.

"You're also a gay man? Which was harder, coming out of the closet as a gay man or as a border gay?"

"Thankfully we live in a country that does not deport gay people," Vargas answered. "I'm very happy about that. I decided to come out because I am just one of 11 million undocumented people in this country."

The interview ended with Colber swearing in Vargas as a legal citizen of the Colbert Nation.

Colbert said: "Raise your right hand. Now raise your left hand. Now go turn yourself in to the authorities!"

Vargas called on viewers to sign an online petition to make immigration part of the national conversation. The petition can be seen on www.change.org.

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