MSNBC Invites Gay Illegal Immigrant Activist to Push for Leahy Amendment

Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) recently proposed an amendment to the so-called Gang of Eight’s immigration bill that would allow homosexuals in the U.S. to sponsor their foreign-born partners for green cards. Naturally, MSNBC was elated at this potential fusion of gay rights and immigration reform, so to celebrate, Sunday's Weekends with Alex Witt brought on Jose Antonio Vargas, a former Washington Post reporter and liberal activist who happens to be both gay AND an undocumented immigrant.

Vargas eagerly played up his double-minority status, complaining:

"I feel like, as somebody who’s undocumented and as somebody who’s gay, it's really tough to be asked to make choices about, well, what part of you is more equal to the other, right?...Like I can't be undocumented and gay at the same time."

 

Someone call him a shrink, because he's confusing a cable network for a therapy couch.

I don’t know why this guy is griping. He should just be thankful that the U.S. government allowed him to stay in this country after he revealed his illegal immigrant status in 2011. Vargas has been allowed to live out his dream as a journalist and immigration activist, even winning a Pulitzer Prize, all while trying to smooth the pathway to citizenship for illegals like him. He has no right to complain that our laws currently do not cater to gay illegal aliens.

However, that may soon change if the Supreme Court decides to strike down the Defense of Marriage Act. Vargas was hopeful that the Court’s ruling in that case “might take care of this whole problem” – the problem of being a gay illegal alien – by allowing a gay man like him to marry into U.S. citizenship.

If that were to happen, we would be well on our way to creating a liberal paradise in America. Liberals, believing they are more advanced than conservatives, simply call this “moving on.” Vargas asserted: “The country has moved on when it comes to gay marriage, same-sex marriage. How are we moving on in terms of immigration?”

Vargas’s idea of “moving on” involves accepting gay marriage as normal and rewarding those who reside in this country illegally with citizenship. But there are many voices in this country who disagree with that particular notion of societal progress. MSNBC should have balanced Vargas with such a voice.

But wait, the gay immigration activist was not done kvetching. Next, he criticized the current immigration debate: “[W]hat's really troublesome about this whole conversation right now on immigration is how much of it is tied to border security.”

And what’s wrong with tying the immigration debate to border security? Vargas explained:
 

"Because as I’ve traveled this country, how many people just assume that because – that I'm Mexican, just because I'm quote-unquote an “illegal alien” and I remind them that not everybody crossed the border. This is the lowest border crossing that we’ve had since Nixon was president."

 

I guess this is another nuisance in the life of an illegal immigrant. People assume that because Vargas is an illegal alien, he is Mexican. (He’s actually Filipino.) Obviously, not every illegal immigrant crossed our southern border -- many are visa overstays -- and border crossings have declined a bit in recent years. But according to estimates from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, 59 percent of undocumented immigrants in 2011 were from Mexico, a country which itself has rather stringent border security laws to prevent immigration on its southern border.

Federal officials should not be distracted by illegal Asian and Pacific Islander immigrants, who, according to Vargas, make up “a full million of the 11 million undocumented population.”  That is not a large proportion of the illegal population. Our southern neighbor is still our greatest supplier of illegal immigrants, so the focus on border security is well warranted.

What MSNBC served up in the Vargas interview was not analysis; it's just good old-fashioned liberal activism thinly and cynically disguised as journalism.

Below is a partial transcript of the interview:

MSNBC Weekends with Alex Witt
05/05/13
12:17

RICHARD LUI: And that was Democratic senator Patrick Leahy speaking this morning. The senator plans to add an amendment this week to the immigration bill. This amendment would let gays in America sponsor their foreign born partners for green cards. Republicans warn the proposal is threatening to unravel a carefully constructed bipartisan deal on immigration. Want to bring in Jose Antonio Vargas, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and contributor to Time Magazine. He’s also an activist. He made waves in 2011 when he revealed his status as an undocumented citizen. He came to the U.S. from the Phillippines at the age of 12. Jose, thanks for coming on a Sunday for us.

JOSE ANTONIO VARGAS: No, thank you for having me.



LUI: So you're very aware of this immigration bill amendment. Would you support it without it?

VARGAS: As far as I'm concerned right now, we're still in the conversation phase of this, which is why any – any – any talk about threat or, like, getting -- this is way too early in the process. I feel like as somebody who’s undocumented and as somebody who’s gay, it's really tough to be asked to make choices about, well, what part of you is more equal to the other, right?

LUI: Do you feel like you are making such a choice?

VARGAS: In some ways, you know, our politicians always allow us to make these choices, right? Like I can't be undocumented and gay at the same time. It's kind of like saying I can't be Jose and look Asian at the same time. You know, it’s called Filipino, right? It’s tough, but this is how Washington works. And I think for me, looking at it from the Republican perspective and looking at the fact that our country is at the process of redefining what marriage is. We have a Supreme Court decision that’s gonna come in the next few weeks, which in some ways procedurally might take care of this whole problem. The country has moved on when it comes to gay marriage, same-sex marriage. How are we moving on in terms of immigration?

LUI: What about DOMA? Such an issue was also involved in DOMA; it made it through.

VARGAS: It made it through. So I feel like, everybody right now, there’s a lot of throat-clearing happening, a lot of posturing happening. But frankly, I am for a bill that is as inclusive as we can possibly get it. I am for a bill that makes sure – I mean, to me, what's really troublesome about this whole conversation right now on immigration is how much of it is tied to border security. That – I was just on the border, by the way. I went to San Diego a couple of weeks ago. I'm filming a documentary. I went to San Diego just to see the border for myself. Because as I’ve traveled this country, how many people just assume that because – that I'm Mexican, just because I'm quote-unquote an “illegal alien” and I remind them that not everybody crossed the border. This is the lowest border crossing that we’ve had since Nixon was president.

LUI: There are Latino Americans or Asian Americans who are –

(Crosstalk)

VARGAS: As you know, a full million of the 11 million undocumented population is Asian and Pacific Islander. No one’s talking about that.

Paul Bremmer
Paul Bremmer is a Media Research Center News Analysis Division intern.