Dear America: Notes of an Undocumented Citizen by Jose Antonio Vargas is a memoir that's been on my reading wishlist for a few years now. I was lucky enough to find the paperback edition of this memoir at a Little Free Library in Danville, California earlier this year.
I began reading Dear America: Notes of an Undocumented Citizen by Jose Antonio Vargas late last month for Asian American Pacific Islander Month as Jose Antonio Vargas was born in the Philippines, but came to America in 1993 at the age of 12 to live with his maternal grandparents in Mountain View, California.
I finished reading Dear America: Notes of an Undocumented Citizen by Jose Antonio Vargas last week. I was blown away by the writing, but then again, I probably shouldn't have been as Jose Antonio Vargas is a Pulitzer Prize winning journalist.
Dear America: Notes of an Undocumented Citizen is divided into three separate sections titled: Lying, Passing, Hiding. Each section contains several short, engaging, and easy to digest chapters. Dear America is a memoir at its heart... More specifically, it's about the author first discovering at the age of 16 that his green card is counterfeit!! Jose Antonio Vargas learns this bit of information when goes to the DMV to obtain a driver's permit only to learn from a DMV employee that his green card was fake. Needless to say, Jose Antonio Vargas didn't receive a driver's permit that day and he left the DMV feeling confused. After confronting his grandfather about his experience at the DMV, Jose Antonio Vargas learns that he is, in fact, in the US illegally!! From this point onward, we, the readers, learn about the author's life as an undocumented citizen, about immigration to the US, and so much more. I learned so much by reading Dear America: Notes of an Undocumented Citizen by Jose Antonio Vargas. Too much information to write about in a single blog post. I have many areas pertaining to immigration and history, which I first learned about in Dear America, that I'd like to explore further.
However, I can state that this memoir challenges readers to reexamine their views on immigration and what it means to be an undocumented/illegal citizen here in the US. Things aren't always so straight forward regarding undocumented citizens. Many of us have misguided perceptions regarding illegal/undocumented citizens and these misguided perceptions are frequently fueled by an uninformed media perpetuating misinformation. The author is a journalist and has been for much of his life, so he is able to give us the inside perspective on the media's view on immigration as well as what it's like to be an illegal/undocumented citizens.
Below is an interview of Jose Antonio Vargas from CBS News. In the interview, he discusses his memoir, Dear America, with viewers. It's an informative interview!
I am giving Dear America: Notes of an Undocumented Citizen by Jose Antonio Vargas a solid rating of 5 stars out of 5 stars. This memoir is definitely one of my best reads so far in 2023.
Until my next post, happy reading!!