Tides project Define American on cover of Time Magazine

Have you seen it?

The cover of TIME Magazine features the culmination of a yearlong journey. It is a reflection on what I’ve experienced traveling across the United States, after “coming out” publicly as an undocumented immigrant a year ago this month.

I reflect on the tough questions I’ve been asked and tell the stories of some of the toughest young people I’ve ever known: young DREAMers who are American through and through --  whose courage and determination has now been documented by TIME filmmakers.

Watch their powerful stories:


In the year since my essay went viral, at least 2,000 undocumented Americans -- and we are, at heart, Americans -- have personally contacted me and outed themselves. Their stories flooded in at public events and in late-night Facebook messages.

Across the country, more and more Americans are challenging how our politicians, the media -- and even the Supreme Court (in its current deliberation on Arizona's immigration law) -- talk about immigration.

These brave deeds must be met with equal bravery from those of us who have the power to pass it on.

Our mission is to spread these stories far and wide over the next few days, inspiring even more people to come forward and share theirs.

Join us -- comment and share this blog post with a friend, post a message to Facebook, or tweet @DefineAmerican with the #WeAreAmericans hashtag. Most importantly, let’s make this a conversation that no one can ignore.

With all my heart, thank you for being part of this incredible journey.


Jose Antonio Vargas is a Filipino American journalist living and working in the United States.[2] He is known for his coverage of HIV, the Virginia Tech shootings, and the influence that politics and the Internet have on each other. In 2008, Vargas was part of the team which won the Pulitzer Prize for Breaking News Reporting. Born in the Philippines, and raised in the United States from the age of 12, Vargas has worked for The San Francisco Chronicle, The Philadelphia Daily News, The Washington Post, and The Huffington Post.

In a June 2011 essay in The New York Times Magazine, Vargas wrote he is an "undocumented immigrant". He states he revealed his status in order to promote dialogue about what he feels is a broken immigration system in the United States, and to advocate for the DREAM Act, which would help children in similar circumstances have a path to citizenship available to them. A year later he wrote a cover story for TIME about his continued uncertainty regarding his status since this revelation. Shortly afterward, the Obama administration announced its halt to the deportation of young undocumented immigrants eligible for the DREAM Act, which, although he would not qualify due to his age, Vargas hailed as "a victory for DREAMers".


Cross-posted from the Define American blog. At Tides, we are so proud to support and be a part of Define American's great work, and are excited about the ways in which they are changing America for the better for this generation and the next.

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