Current Weather
The Spy FM

Why Jose Antonio Vargas Should Leave The U.S.

Filed by KOSU News in US News.
July 7, 2011

Mark Krikorian says Jose Antonio Vargas, the journalist who recently came out as an undocumented immigrant in the New York Times Magazine, should go back to the Philippines.

“It’s not so much that he’s undocumented. It’s that he’s an illegal immigrant — he had illegal documents,” says Krikorian, the executive director of the Center for Immigration Studies, a think tank that advocates a “low immigration, high enforcement” immigration policy. “He came here as a child [but] … he came here with an identity formed as a Filipino. In other words, he came at 12.”

Vargas says he was inspired to write his article after the Senate failed to pass the Dream Act, which would have granted amnesty to people younger than 36 who arrived in the United States as children, have lived here for five years or more and are currently attending college or serving in the military.

But Krikorian says legislation like the Dream Act shouldn’t apply to people like Vargas — because he arrived in the United States at the age of 12.

“The moral case that you can make for the Dream Act — or something like the Dream Act … really only applies, it seems to me, to people whose identities have been formed here, who have no memory of any other country, who really are — as some of the advocates sometimes put it — are Americans in all but paperwork,” he says. “This doesn’t really cover a lot of the people who would be covered under the current version of the Dream Act, including Mr. Vargas. The man has real abilities and real skills, and he should go home to his country of citizenship, the country he grew up in for most of his childhood.”

Providing amnesty to illegal immigrants — even through something like the Dream Act — has two important consequences, Krikorian says.

“[It] encourages further illegal immigration by sending a message that if you keep your head down long enough, eventually you or your children will be able to get legal status. So it serves as a kind of magnet for new illegal immigration,” he says. “And the second effect that all amnesties have is that they reward people who broke the law. Now the kids … wouldn’t fit in that description because they were legally incapable of having violated the law, but the adults that are responsible would — and so the two important things that any Dream Act 2.0 would have to deal with would be these questions.”

Do We Really Need Immigration?

Krikorian says illegal immigration is only part of the larger immigration problem in the United States.

“Our take on it is really that a modern society has no need for any immigration,” he says. “We don’t actually need immigration. Our land is settled, we’re a post-industrial society, and so … from our perspective, we need to start from zero — like zero-based budgeting — and then say, ‘Are there groups of people whose admission is so compelling that we let them in despite the fact that there’s no need for this sort of thing?’ “

That group, says Krikorian, would include husbands and wives of current U.S. citizens, a “handful of real Einsteins,” and a modest number of refugees who wouldn’t have anywhere else to go.

Immigration, he says, has changed since his grandparents came to the United States from Armenia.

“The idea that immigration — which was an important element of the second half of the 19th century in forming who we are as a country now — is somehow essential to our sense of self indefinitely into the future just strikes me as anachronistic and incorrect,” he says. “The difference from a hundred years ago isn’t really the immigrants — they’re really not that different today from my grandparents and yours — but what’s different is our country. We’ve become a middle-aged country, if you will, and we have outgrown mass immigration. It was an important part of our adolescence, just as settling the frontier was, but we’ve left it behind.”

Krikorian says we can think of immigration like a good fat-filled doughnut.

“When you’re 11 years old, you eat all of the doughnuts that your parent will let you eat, and they’re probably good for you at that point,” he says. “When you’re 50 years old, you can’t eat doughnuts like that anymore. There’s nothing wrong with the doughnuts. They’re the same doughnuts. But your metabolism has changed. And our body politic’s metabolism has changed so that we need to start now looking at what’s good for our grandchildren, not what was good for our grandparents.”

Interview Highlights

On how Jose Antonio Vargas should leave the country

“You give people like this something called voluntary return. You have to leave in 90 days or in six months or something like that. So you pack up your things, you resolve your affairs and you can go home. I mean, he’s got a skill that’s clearly usable in much of the world, including the Philippines. They have large numbers of English-language media. The man has real skills and real abilities, and he ought to use those in his own country.”

On when the Dream Act should apply

“The strongest case you can make for something like the Dream Act is for people who prudence suggests we should allow stay because their identities have been formed here. They really are, psychologically speaking, Americans. Because you have to understand that what we’re proposing here is an amnesty — in other words, legalizing illegal immigrants at the expense of legal immigrants who did not sneak in or were brought in illegally into the country. And it seems to me that that’s a pretty high bar to meet. And it just doesn’t seem to me to say that any person involved here has certain skills and they’ll be able to earn a living and distinguish themselves — that just seems to me not enough of a rationale.” [Copyright 2011 National Public Radio]

One Response to “Why Jose Antonio Vargas Should Leave The U.S.”

  1. Brittanicus says:

    These are laws literary forced on taxpayers and individual States such as Arizona, Alabama, Georgia that are fighting back as every American State is suffocating under the relentless streams of illegal—ECONOMIC—aliens, coming here to pilfer the Federal and state treasuries. They are stealing jobs of Americans, lowering wages that "Old boy Club Republicans." has a reputation for? We need to dismantle the IRS and begin a new taxing system, which is fair to all US taxpayers and not just especially favorable to the wealthy; that everybody pays their fair share. Americans must choose between the same old system of government, or vote in more TEA PARTY candidates. The Congress is really a partisan that considers US citizens and legal aliens as the underdog, squandering billions on senseless wars and forever building continuously more government agencies, subsidized on more and more taxes.

    Only Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) born in Iowa has a grading of B+ on enforcement of illegal immigrants. All the remaining Presidential hopes have lower grading, that includes Obama's Liberal rating of (F minus).Bachmann will not allow Congress to pass any mass Amnesty, or Immigration reform; as President Obama, has such a plan to legitimize an estimated 20 million plus people that will cost 2.5 Trillion dollars for processing. ( A Calculated statistic of the Heritage Foundation.) The passage of the 1986 Simpson/Mazzoli bill was a waste of time and money, full of fraud and governmental corruption, at a cost of 76 Billion dollars to taxpayers. Bachmann as president and chairman of all-American TEA PARTY, will secure our borders, track over-staying pseudo tourists and students who remain is 40 percent of the illegal immigrant occupation. Michele Bachman states: As a constitutional conservative, I believe in the Founders' vision of a limited government that trusts in and preserves the unlimited potential of the American people.

    All new arrivals are tracked in Mexico and our politicians should replicate all immigration laws in our adjoining nations. TEA PARTY leaders will introduce an amendment to the 14th Amendment, to deny instant-baby-citizenship if neither parent is a US citizen. This will close massive dollar welfare and public that is subsidizing millions of these children; food stamps, Medical Care, Wicca, Section 8 low income housing and free schooling to K-12, just to name a few benefits. Whereas the majority of Americans have no idea of all these freebies, illegal aliens receive and are well versed by relatives and friends to collect with false identification. This hundred billion dollar payout would lessen the fiscal burden on the American people over the years to come.

    Remember foreign nationals have been voting in federal and State elections; authorities are should be obligated to ID everybody who registers.

Leave a Reply

7AM to 9AM Weekend Edition

Weekend Edition

From civil wars in Bosnia and El Salvador, to hospital rooms, police stations, and America\'s backyards, National Public Radio's Peabody Award-winning correspondent Scott Simon brings a well-traveled perspective to his role as host of Weekend Edition Saturday.

Listen Live Now!

9AM to 10AM Car Talk

Car Talk

View the program guide!

10AM to 11AM Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me!

Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me!

Peter Sagal and Carl Kasell host the weekly NPR News quiz show alongside some of the best and brightest news and entertainment personalities.

View the program guide!

Upcoming Events in your area (Submit your event today!)

Streaming audio and podcasts

Stream KOSU on your smartphone

Phone Streaming

SmartPhone listening options on this page are intended for many iPhones, Blackberries, etc. with low-cost software applications available to listen to our full-time web streams, both News on KOSU-1 and Classical on KOSU-2.

Learn more about our complete range of streaming services

We're perfecting the patient experience - Stillwater Medical Center