Cover image for Dear America : notes of an undocumented citizen
Title:
Dear America : notes of an undocumented citizen
Edition:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York, NY : Dey Street, [2018]

©2018
ISBN:
9780062851352
Physical Description:
xiii, 232 pages ; 20 cm
Language:
English
Contents:
PART I: LYING. Gamblers ; The wrong country ; Crittenden Middle School ; Not black, not white ; Filipinos ; Mexican José and Filipino Jose ; Fake ; Coming out PART II: PASSING. Playing a role ; Mountain View High School ; An adopted family ; Breaking the law ; The master narrative ; Ambition ; White people ; The Washington Post ; Strangers ; Bylines ; Campaign 2008 ; Purgatory ; Thirty ; Facing myself ; Lawyers ; Second coming out ; Outlaw ; Who am I? ; Inside Fox News ; Public person, private self ; Progress -- PART III: HIDING. My government, myself ; Home ; Distant intimacy ; Leaving ; Staying ; Detained ; The machine ; National security threat ; Alone ; Interview ; Cycle of loss ; Truth.
Abstract:
"My name is Jose Antonio Vargas. I was born in the Philippines. When I was twelve, my mother sent me to the United States to live with her parents. While applying for a driver's permit, I found out my papers were fake. More than two decades later, I am still here illegally, with no clear path to American citizenship. To some people, I am the "most famous illegal" in America. In my mind, I am only one of an estimated 11 million human beings whose uncertain fate is under threat in a country I call my home. This is not a book about the politics of immigration. This book--at its core--is not about immigration at all. This book is about homelessness, not in a traditional sense, but about the unsettled, unmoored psychological state in which undocumented immigrants like me find ourselves. This book is about lying and being forced to lie to get by; about passing as an American and as a contributing citizen; about families, keeping them together, and having to make new ones when you can't. This book is about what it means to not have a home."--Dust jacket.
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Book 304.873 VARGAS 1 .SOURCE. BAKER & TAYLOR
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Book 304.873 VARGAS 1
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Book BIOGRAPHY VARGAS JOSE 1 .SOURCE. AMAZON.COM
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Book 304.873 VARGAS 1 .SOURCE. BT 10-17-18
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Book PN4874.V37V37 2018 1
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Prescott Public Library1Received on 9/25/18

Summary

Summary

THE NATIONAL BESTSELLER

"This riveting, courageous memoir ought to be mandatory reading for every American." --Michelle Alexander, New York Times bestselling author of The New Jim Crow

"l cried reading this book, realizing more fully what my parents endured." --Amy Tan, New York Times bestselling author of The Joy Luck Club and Where the Past Begins

"This book couldn't be more timely and more necessary." --Dave Eggers, New York Times bestselling author of What Is the What and The Monk of Mokha

Pulitzer-Prize winning journalist Jose Antonio Vargas, called "the most famous undocumented immigrant in America," tackles one of the defining issues of our time in this explosive and deeply personal call to arms.

"This is not a book about the politics of immigration. This book--at its core--is not about immigration at all. This book is about homelessness, not in a traditional sense, but in the unsettled, unmoored psychological state that undocumented immigrants like myself find ourselves in. This book is about lying and being forced to lie to get by; about passing as an American and as a contributing citizen; about families, keeping them together, and having to make new ones when you can't. This book is about constantly hiding from the government and, in the process, hiding from ourselves. This book is about what it means to not have a home.

After 25 years of living illegally in a country that does not consider me one of its own, this book is the closest thing I have to freedom."

--Jose Antonio Vargas, from Dear America


Reviews 3

Kirkus Review

As if to dare the attorney general to come find him, Philippines-born immigrant journalist Vargas, a winner of the Pulitzer Prize, owns up to being "illegal"but not criminal.As the author's account opens and closes, he has been arrested in preparation for a "removal proceeding," the consequence of his mother's decision to put him on a plane with a supposed uncle and send him to the promised land of the United States at the age of 12 in 1993. That uncle was a smuggler, and the life Vargas found wasn't all that it was supposed to be; neither did he have the papersreal ones, anywayto support things like getting a driver's license or going to the polls. Given the mood of the nation, which, as the author notes, officially no longer characterizes itself as "a nation of immigrants," it's understandable that he is perplexed and worried at his situation, perhaps less intuitively so that he should confess it in a book that almost certainly will not change many minds: Those opposed to immigration, illegal and legal, will dismiss his pleas, and those for it will share his indignation. Of more interest to readers on the middle ground, if there are any, is the author's account of how few and technically complex the supposed paths for legal immigration are these daysand how easy it is to be deported. Thus he had to wrestle when, having appeared on-air to discuss his plea, he was invited by Nancy Pelosi to be her guest in Congress, an invitation that an immigration-lawyer friend urged him to decline: "It took .25 seconds for the Breitbart website to pull up 725 articles under the search Jose Antonio Vargas.' Breitbart runs immigration policy in the United States." Though in fact detained, the author was released and now lives in a kind of legal limbo while waiting to see what, if anything, will happen.An unusual firsthand report from the immigration wars. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.


Booklist Review

*Starred Review* At the age of 12, Vargas was brought to the U.S. from the Philippines without papers, assisted by a "coyote," a term a Border Patrol agent explains to him as he is detained as an adult in McAllen, Texas. In this excruciatingly timely memoir, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Vargas implements his strategy of radical transparency, purposefully laying out his undocumented status for the world to see. Although this book mimics a straightforward memoir, it is couched in questions vital for every reader's consideration: Who "deserves" citizenship? Why is migration considered historically courageous for white people but a crime for people of color? Like a cracked mirror, Vargas' story is splintered through a myriad of selves son, journalist, gay man, undocumented resident, advocate each sliver burnished by education and inspiration, courtesy in large part of the local library, where he soaks up American culture from E. L. Doctorow to Toni Morrison, becoming an American in every sense but the legal one. Vargas' frank and fearless voice thoughtfully and intentionally challenges readers to confront the call for action at the heart of this book: the urgent need for "a new language around migration and the meaning of citizenship."--Sara Martinez Copyright 2018 Booklist


Library Journal Review

When Vargas (founder, DefineAmerican.com) was 12, he was brought from his home in the Philippines to California to live with his grandparents. With the help of his community, he succeeded in school and went on to become a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist. Yet his undocumented status weighed heavily, as he constantly had to lie in order to move through life. Eventually, Vargas went public about his status and founded Define American, an immigrant advocacy organization. Through a series of short essays, he meditates on the difficulty of reconciling his Filipino and American identities, race, the role of journalism and media in the immigration debate, the challenges of living as an undocumented public figure, and the harshness of current immigration policy. He intersperses facts about immigration throughout and argues that immigrants deserve to be a formal part of America. -VERDICT A thought-provoking, moving, and highly personal memoir of Vargas's struggle to belong. Recommended for all readers interested in immigration issues and American identity.-Rebekah Kati, Univ. of North Carolina, Chapel Hill © Copyright 2018. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.