New York Times got Vargas’ illegal immigrant story after Washington Post passed on it

The Huffington Post / The New York Times
Chris Suellentrop describes how The New York Times came to publish journalist Jose Antonio Vargas’ story revealing that he is an illegal immigrant. Vargas emailed him at close to midnight on Monday, June 13, with a vague suggestion that he had an “urgent and personal” story for the Times. On Wednesday, Suellentrop learned what the story was about. Vargas had been planning to publish the story in The Washington Post, but the Post killed the story on Monday. Times editors first saw a draft at 5 p.m. Wednesday, two days before the magazine closed. “And within a hour,” Suellentrop writes, “we decided this wasn’t a story we were going to give to anyone else. Sometimes great stories fall into your lap, as Hugo [Lindgren, Times magazine editor] just told The Huffington Post.” As to why The Washington Post turned the story down, Carlos Lozada, the editor who worked with Vargas on it, told Suellentrop simply that “a decision was made here to pass on it.” || Who knew? In his post breaking the story, Michael Calderone reports that Peter Perl, then director of newsroom training at the Post, “knew about [Vargas'] undocumented status and kept that fact hidden during the journalist’s tenure.” || Reaction: Jack Shafer asks, “Did Vargas put the his employers at the Wash Post and the HuffPost on the hook for breaking the law?”

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  • Anonymous

    i agree, Mr.Vargas should be banned and never enter the US again.

    immigration attorney new york

  • John Shinn III

    Now the truth is coming out….Not only is Mr. Vargas credibility now
    “highly suspect” as a journalist…as a person I perceive him to have
    become a “congential liar” as well…as a result of his living in denial
    as an “illegal alien” here in the U.S. The bottom line is…Mr. Vargas
    will be deported…but he could serve time for “perjury” and “forgery”
    of immigration and other US government documents…Mr. Vargas will be
    depoirted back to the Philippines and will be banned “for life” from
    entering the U.S. again…. 

  • Inday Espina-Varona

    Inday Espina-Varona here, a journalist from the Philippines.
    “I’ve reached out to former bosses­ and employers
    and apologized for misleading them — a mix of humiliation and
    liberation coming with each disclosure. ” — I’d have loved to know the
    reactions that came with this. Perhaps word-count limit made this
    difficult, but those who gave him a step up, not knowing, are as
    important as the members of his “network.” The silence on this score leaves the story incomplete; the omission detracts from the story-telling.
    The general situation isn’t unique. Vargas was living, the American dream. Except it was under false
    circumstances, and he knew it. Lots of folk are in the same boat. His choice of profession juxtaposed with his legal situation does seem unique. I have to admit to great ambivalence
    over this brilliantly-narrated tale. Confused at 16 is one thing… As
    Vargas says, he was in the business of truth-telling and to get and
    continue with his job, he deliberately covered up his personal truth.
    Coming out, 2nd time around, took great courage, whether or not you one agrees with his past choices.
    I can imagine critics saying, do we now doubt
    your reportage? They will say, and perhaps be right, that this isn’t just about immigration woes; this is also about a journalist’s ethics. I don’t know… it’s an iffy situation, notwithstanding
    the very challenges that youth like Vargas had to face (there was a recent
    case involving an honors student at Harvard
    The hardest part was reading this: “This is my
    home. Yet even though I think of myself as an American and consider
    America my country, my country doesn’t think of me as one of its own.”
    I’m tempted to say, Come home! This country needs you!…
    But I was never tempted to be an American, even a wonderful year-long idyll. And so I can’t stand in the
    shoes of one so determined to be one. I can only say, very sadly, “good
    luck, Jose Antonio Vargas!” Maybe if you get that green card or
    citizenship, when you get it, you can come home and give the motherland a
    try…. And maybe write a follow-up article that plugs all the holes in this story.