Tag Archives: Vargas

Pulitzer Winner Breaks Law Daily

Jose Antonio Vargas has been making the rounds on the talk show circuit promoting his new book and is garnering a wealth of attention… while breaking federal laws in the process.

Vargas, according to his own mini-autobiography published in the New York Times in June 2011, arrived in America at the age of 12 when his mother shipped him off to live with his grandparents who had immigrated legally from the Philippines. Vargas’ grandfather, “Lolo,” obtained fraudulent documents for him so he could travel and then attend school in the San Francisco Bay area. He remained unknowing of the fraud for 4 years.

“One day when I was 16, I rode my bike to the nearby DMV office to get my driver’s permit…” writes Vargas. “But when I handed the clerk my green card as proof of US residency, she flipped it around, examining it. ‘This is fake,’ she whispered. ‘Don’t come back here again.'”

Like any other teenager unaware of the situation his mother and grandparents had bestowed him, he was confused and proceeded to ask for an explanation from Lolo, only to learn that the document was in fact falsified and he was living in the United States illegally.

Vargas says he faced many challenges trying to assimilate and become as American as possible. He wanted to perfect English and lose his accent. He wanted to fit in and get a job in America. He again leaned on Lolo.

“Using the fake passport, we went to the local Social Security Administration office and applied for a Social Security number and card. It was, I remember, a quick visit. When the card came in the mail, it had my full, real name, but it also clearly stated: “Valid for work only with I.N.S. authorization.”

When I began looking for work, a short time after the D.M.V. incident, my grandfather and I took the Social Security card to Kinko’s, where he covered the “I.N.S. authorization” text with a sliver of white tape. We then made photocopies of the card. At a glance, at least, the copies would look like copies of a regular, unrestricted Social Security card.”

The New York Times editors failed to ask for more details about this, but should have. Social Security cards are blue. They have a specific design on them. Covering a portion with white tape would most certainly distort the image to look completely fake. Perhaps his first few employers like Subway and the YMCA should also have done a bit more digging.

Nevertheless, the fraudulent card was getting so easy to use that Vargas admits after a while, he began checking the citizenship box on I-9 forms (one of the documents federally required of new employees to ensure legal citizenship/immigration status). He claims he was nervous about getting caught – so he understood it was wrong – but that he kept doing it anyway.

Vargas attended San Francisco State University on a scholarship that Vargas admits “was not concerned with immigration status.” He sought out avenues to avoid bringing attention to the fact that he was breaking the law on a daily basis.

In early 2002, Vargas sought the help of an immigration lawyer who told him that to become a legal US citizen, Vargas would have to return to the Philippines for 10 years and then return legally with documentation.

Apparently, as an adult, fully aware of the consequences of his actions, Vargas chose NOT to obey the law. In fact, he downright ignored it. What he did next can only be described as intentional defiance of state and federal laws with complete disregard for morality.

“…I spent an afternoon at The Mountain View Public Library, studying various states’ requirements. Oregon was among the most welcoming — and it was just a few hours’ drive north,” remembers Vargas.

Using a false permanent address, some fraudulent documents, a photocopied Social Security card and his college ID, Portland, Oregon gave Vargas a driver’s license.

“I knew what I was doing now, and I knew it wasn’t right. But what was I supposed to do?”

As justification for his crimes, Vargas basically whines, “I was paying state and federal taxes…”

Perhaps Vargas should remember that simply paying taxes doesn’t make you American, nor does it make your actions justified. Perhaps Vargas should also consider that he was and continues to benefit from the taxes paid just like legal US citizens. Roads, fire protection, a federal military, etc. have all been available to him regardless of his being unlawful.

Vargas claims the license meant a great deal to him because it allowed him to drive, travel by plane and work. What is he doing now? How is he able to make it to all those television interviews to promote his new book? If he is using that license (or a new one since that license was set to expire last year), should he not be stopped by the TSA when trying to board a plane? Or perhaps the television shows or stations are flying him by private jet? Still, it begs the question, “how has he not been arrested for repeatedly breaking the law and being so open about it?”

Vargas has worked as an employee for the Washington Post, the San Francisco Chronicle, the Philadelphia Daily News and the Huffington Post, all with the help of falsified documents. He has also likely been paid as a freelance writer/contributor and has made documentary films, which aren’t free. I wonder if he’s ever filled out a 1099 form and turned it in to the IRS by April 15th? If so, I wouldn’t believe its truthfulness.

To see the beat down Lou Dobbs gives this guy, click here.

Three Bills for One Tragedy – Penn State & California-style Solutions

By now the tragic, shocking events that transpired at Penn State are common public knowledge.  Ex-assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky was re-arrested last week on new charges of child molestation.  That brings the charges against him up to more than 50 counts.  Longtime coach Joe Paterno lost his job as the investigation continues.  The entire scandal from top to bottom is enough to make this mother two young children weep.  It is heartbreaking, infuriating and disturbing.

Naturally, when a story like this comes to light many people begin to ask the question, “How did this happen? What can be done to make sure it never happens again?”  A worthy question and one that not only the entire Penn State community will have to address, but also educational institutions across the country.  Here in California the question has been posed quite publicly.  The answer?  Why, more bills of course!  CA Assemblyman Roger Dickinson (D-Sacramento) will introduce a bill that would require all athletic organizations to provide employees with training on how to identify and report child abuse.  That doesn’t sound so crazy, does it?  Not necessarily, but consider this: last month two separate California representatives, Assemblyman Mike Feuer (D-Los Angeles) and state Sen. Juan Vargas (D-San Diego) put forward two separate bills that would also require employees of universities and colleges to report suspected cases of child abuse to law enforcement.  That’s not all…Senator Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) has introduced similar legislation in D.C.   Why on earth would three different state politicians propose three different bills that cover the same issue?  Is it because they think 3 times the bills = 1.9 times the caring (I used government math for that one)?

Politics is big business in the state of California.  Besides a salary that averages $113, 000/year and a $162/day per diem (year round, don’t forget), politicians also earn big money with book deals and on the speaking circuit.  How do you become someone others will want to pay to speak at their fundraiser dinners and company retreats?  You pass a bill that has your name on it.  The more sensational, the better.  The Smith-Jones Human Waste bill or Jones-Smith Cat Leash bill simply aren’t exciting enough.  No one is moved (forgive the pun) by bills that deal with human waste and taking cats for walks, as an example ( by the way, these are not real bills…yet.  In Califorina-stan anything is possible when you have a full-time legislature run solely and completely by Democrats).  What you want as a politician is a bill that catches the eye, that speaks to emotions and very real public fears.  You want a bill that proports to solve a problem publicly and definitively, something you can speak about around the country.  You want a bill that identifies you as a public crusader.  It has little to do with content and public safety and everything to do with pride and money.

I understand people want to know that nothing like what happened at Penn State will ever happen again.  I don’t suggest that it is a poor idea to ask educational institutions to train their employees and talk about how to handle (God forbid) such situations, should they ever arise.  I am just like you, dear reader – disgusted and heartbroken at the selfish employees at Penn State who allowed young boys, children to be raped and molested right under their noses for years.  We have laws to deal with such heinous crimes.  But what is needed here is not more laws.  Our nation is drowning in legislation, much of it redundant.  With each new public tragedy there come more and more cries for better laws, stricter laws, updated laws, more specific laws.  There are so many laws on the books to be broken that our jails and prisons are overflowing with petty criminals, causing more violent offenders to be released early to create more room (that’s happening here in California thanks to…another law!)  Its natural to want to prevent more tragedy, but at what cost? In California Governor Jerry Brown has more than 600 bills on his desk awaiting approval before the end of the year.  They range from tighter helmet laws to school athletic awards.  The gridlock in Sacramento makes Washington look like amateurs. We don’t need to legislate common sense.  The national out-cry in response to the Penn State scandal proves that most Americans get that not reporting child abuse is wrong.  Do we really need more laws – THREE separate laws – to confirm that sentiment?

Every tragedy does not require a new law.  Our society would grind to a halt if every terrible accident or event resulted in a new law being passed.  What happened in Pennsylvania was outrageous.  The prepatrator is going to jail, hopefully forever.  Writing new, vague laws that most likely will end up creating even more fraud and trapping individuals in compliance loopholes will not make our kids safer. Just imagine the things that would be reported to the authorities under these new laws.  Every pat on the back, warm squeeze or lingering look could be reported by school employees terrified of prosecution if real allegations are ever proven; not to mention child molesting is a very serious charge and the simple suggestion of it can ruin an innocent person’s life forever.  Its too risky. Look at what’s become of sexual harassment laws in the workplace or the zero-tolerance policies in public schools.  We now have children being suspended for kissing or calling their teachers “cute”.  Why wouldn’t a new law governing issues of sexuality and molestation in higher education turn into the same fiasco?

I too want to ensure this never happens again but adding 3 more bills to the Governor’s desk is not going to change anything for the boys whose lives were destroyed by Sandusky.  We don’t need better laws.  We just need better people…and that subject is a longer post for a different day.