NEW YORK – Jose Antonio Vargas, the Pulitzer Prize-winning Filipino Journalist said he came out twice in his life.
First, he came out of the closet. "My lola was so funny — do you have to tell them you’re bakla too?" Vargas said, "My lola was like, huwag mo nang sabihin na bakla ka hindi na kailangan.."
Secondly, in 2011, he came out in a big way, via the New York Times, to tell his life story as an undocumented immigrant.
"I came home and confronted my grandfather. That was the first time I realized that I’m an undocumented immigrant. What some people call an illegal," he said.
In his film called "Documented", he was often asked by curious Americans why can’t he just legalize his status.
Back then, Vargas would often reply that being gay and undocumented, he can’t marry his way into citizenship.
But with the death of Defense of Marriage Act, when the Supreme Court decided to strike down DOMA, same-sex marriage is now recognized by the USCIS and married gay couples can now petition their non-US citizen spouses, even the undocumented, to legalize their status.
"My way in, hey you know, if I find somebody to marry, that would be great, there's no time, so I'm trying to make some time for social life, that's one of my goals. I'm about to turn 33," Vargas joked.
When asked if he is single and looking, Vargas candidly said yes.
'Am I single and looking? Yes, I’m single so I dunno, we’ll see," he said, "if I meet the right guy that my Lola would like, that would be good. It would be great to find a Filipino Guy to meet too."
While Vargas can marry his way into citizenship now, he said it’s not going to be that easy.
"If I get married and fall in love, that’s one way to make myself to adjust my immigration status and become legal and that’s something I dunno, we’ll see," said Vargas.
But for now, while the immigration reform bill is stalled in the house, Vargas said he is busy screening his documentary around the country, hoping that his story would change minds on the perceptions about the undocumented and why there is a need for immigration overhaul.
"Our goal is to really get it out to many different communities, to many different states as possible this fall," said Vargas, "I'm gonna be as ambitious as possible in rolling that out. The goal is to show the film in as many conservative areas as possible," he said.