Lauding Liars Deliberately Misleads

Any day now, California’s Mountain View Whisman School District will open a new school named after reporter Jose Antonio Vargas. The school’s opening will be accompanied by laudatory coverage celebrating Vargas’ “accomplishments.” But his achievements are only half the story.

The school district’s website describes Mr. Vargas as, “a former Mountain View resident and a Pulitzer-Prize winning journalist who is also an immigration rights activist.” What the school district fails to mention is that Vargas is also an illegal alien, with a history of fraud, who advocates on behalf of other immigration law breakers. Rather than being a tale of an American dream achieved, Vargas’ story demonstrates the extent to which the open-borders lobby lies to the American public about immigration law.

In June of 2011, Mr. Vargas published a self-serving puff piece in the New York Times Sunday Magazine. In that essay, Vargas admits to having committed immigration fraud, lying to the Oregon DMV about living in the Beaver state and working in the U.S. without authorization. Although the article purports to explain Vargas’ life as an illegal alien, it simply glorifies immigration fraud.

According to Vargas, his deceptions were justified by the fact that he wanted a better life in America. So he broke the law to come here. And, according to him, his Pulitzer Prize demonstrates that he did us a favor and we should now amnesty all the other Jose Antonio Vargases who have ignored our rules. What his argument lacks in consistent logic, it more than makes up for in unbridled ego.

Lest anyone dismiss Vargas as a de minimis violator who should be given a pass, the type of ongoing document fraud in which he admits participating is a crime in all 50 states and under federal law. In fact, following the September 11, 2001 terror attacks, Virginia changed its DMV regulations in order to prohibit those with nefarious motives from lying about living in the state and obtaining Virginia licenses. Sadly, Oregon does not appear to have taken the same measures.

It is a mystery why Vargas hasn’t been deported, despite his confession that he has no respect for American law. And it is troubling that someone with an established history of lying is celebrated by the upper echelons of an industry that claims to provide Americans with an objective account of the truth.

Even more disturbing is the level of self-deception in which the “woke” techies who currently dominate California politics have been willing to engage. The Golden State’s globalist elite glorify Vargas’ illegal behavior, even as they go about cleansing older public properties of every last vestige of the freedom-loving Western tradition that has made the United States attractive to so many immigrants.

But the New York Times and the Mountain View Whisman School District are pushing a false narrative that ignores Vargas’ lawless behavior in order to advance their open-borders ideology. It’s the height of hypocrisy when cultural elites want to name elementary schools after unrepentant liars and lawbreakers, even as they prove willing to toss true American heroes down the memory hole for centuries-old perceived sins.

George Orwell is alleged to have said, “In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act.” The decision to hold up an illegal alien with questionable integrity as a role model for impressionable school children is proof-positive that we are living in an age of deceit. Therefore, it is high-time for someone to point out that the Jose Antonio Vargas-as-hero story is a house of sand and fog, deliberately constructed to mislead.

About Author


Matthew J. O’Brien joined the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) in 2016. Matt is responsible for managing FAIR’s research activities. He also writes content for FAIR’s website and publications. Over the past twenty years he has held a wide variety of positions focusing on immigration issues, both in government and in the private sector. Immediately prior to joining FAIR Matt served as the Chief of the National Security Division (NSD) within the Fraud Detection and National Security Directorate (FDNS) at U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), where he was responsible for formulating and implementing procedures to protect the legal immigration system from terrorists, foreign intelligence operatives, and other national security threats. He has also held positions as the Chief of the FDNS Policy and Program Development Unit, as the Chief of the FDNS EB-5 Division, as Assistant Chief Counsel with U.S. Immigration & Customs Enforcement, as a Senior Advisor to the Citizenship and Immigration Services Ombudsman, and as a District Adjudications Officer with the legacy Immigration & Naturalization Service. In addition, Matt has extensive experience as a private bar attorney. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in French from the Johns Hopkins University and a Juris Doctor from the University of Maine School of Law.


  1. avatar

    “Critics” are blasting Trump’s proposals for making sure those who come here are able to support themselves. Among their arguments are that immigrants “pay taxes”. Number one, if they are low income and low education then they are almost by definition paying few, if any, taxes. Second, taxes are to pay for the nuts and bolts of running the government, the courts, schools, roads, etc. Taxes are not some slush fund for welfare.

    The same people who blather on about the Statue of Liberty fail to note that the people who came to Ellis Island were sometimes returned because they might become a “public charge”. There is nothing new about this.

    California Governor Gavin Newsom was bashing Trump for his proposals. Just a couple months ago they complained that they couldn’t afford the border crossers Trump wanted to send to their sanctuary cities. In other words, whatever Trump says is wrong and has to be opposed, even if you have to completely contradict your previous position to do it.

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