I'm a journalist, filmmaker, and the founder of Define American, a campaign that seeks to elevate the immigration conversation. Other interests: culture, demographics, and technology. more...

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"Not Legal, Not Leaving"

A year after coming out about my undocumented status in the New York Times Magazine, I wrote an essay for TIME magazine—this time, addressing provocative questions that everyday Americans around the country, from Alabama to Arizona, have asked me. 

"Why haven’t you gotten deported?"

That’s usually the first thing people ask me when they learn I’m an undocumented immigrant or, put more rudely, an “illegal.” Some ask it with anger or frustration, others with genuine bafflement. At a restaurant in Birmingham, not far from the University of Alabama, an inebriated young white man challenged me: “You got your papers?” I told him I didn’t. “Well, you should get your ass home, then.” In California, a middle-aged white woman threw up her arms and wanted to know: “Why hasn’t Obama dealt with you?” At least once a day, I get that question, or a variation of it, via e-mail, tweet or Facebook message. Why, indeed, am I still here?

Full story here.

Slideshow: Behind the scenes of the TIME cover shoot
Photos by Gerry Salva Cruz Slideshow: Behind the scenes of the TIME cover shoot
Photos by Gerry Salva Cruz Slideshow: Behind the scenes of the TIME cover shoot
Photos by Gerry Salva Cruz Slideshow: Behind the scenes of the TIME cover shoot
Photos by Gerry Salva Cruz Slideshow: Behind the scenes of the TIME cover shoot
Photos by Gerry Salva Cruz Slideshow: Behind the scenes of the TIME cover shoot
Photos by Gerry Salva Cruz Slideshow: Behind the scenes of the TIME cover shoot
Photos by Gerry Salva Cruz Slideshow: Behind the scenes of the TIME cover shoot
Photos by Gerry Salva Cruz Slideshow: Behind the scenes of the TIME cover shoot
Photos by Gerry Salva Cruz Slideshow: Behind the scenes of the TIME cover shoot
Photos by Gerry Salva Cruz

    Slideshow: Behind the scenes of the TIME cover shoot

    Photos by Gerry Salva Cruz

    timemagazine:

    One year ago, Jose Antonio Vargas publicly revealed he’s an undocumented immigrant. In the latest issue of TIME which will hit newsstands Friday, Vargas reports on life in citizenship limbo, and how others are ‘coming out.’

    Read the cover story here.

    (Photograph by Gian Paul Lozza for TIME)