Reid Epstein at Politico rounded up the blogosphere reaction to former Washington Post reporter Jose Antonio Vargas proclaiming he's an illegal alien (including Billy Hallowell, Meredith Jessup, and NewsBusters yesterday). On the left, he found, Vargas "has become the embodiment of the American dream." His examples:
At Daily Kos, Laura Clawson lectured that Vargas winning a Pulitzer prize was "exceptional," and the lying wasn't his fault, it was ours: "He shouldn’t have had to break so many laws and tell so many lies to get where he is. This is the kind of ability and drive our immigration laws stifle and deny us, and it’s one more reason those laws need to be reformed.”
The Huffington Post, which for 10 months employed Vargas as an editor, ran a story headlined “Jose Antonio Vargas Is an American Hero.” Rory O'Connor, a documentary filmmaker for PBS and other "mainstream" outlets, argued:
Jose Antonio Vargas is incredibly brave to risk everything he has accomplished in this country in order to tell the truth and to shine, yet another but still much-needed, light on the pressing need for comprehensive immigration reform in this country. He, and millions like him, have much to contribute to America -- and without people like them, our country will be far poorer.
If there isn't room in the United States for people like Jose Antonio -- the precise type of people who made this country great -- I despair for our collective future.
And Matthew Yglesias at Think Progress compared Vargas to people demonstrating for freedom in dictatorships:
When we look at photos of poverty-stricken people in poor countries, we feel sympathy. When we look at photos of people demonstrating for political freedom in dictatorships, we feel sympathy. And when we look at photos of people sneaking across the border or preventing fake papers, what we ought to feel is sympathy.
Sympathy for poor people in poor and misgoverned countries who are trying to take control of their lives and do something about it. The vast majority of people alive in the United States today are descended from people who decided at some point to get out of a bad situation by moving. The fact that we’ve managed to become a society that feels only fear in the face of people wanting to do the same thing our ancestors did — go someplace better to build a better life — is extremely sad.
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