César Vargas: American Dreamer

César Vargas has been spreading the fire ever since he decided he wanted to go to school. La fogata grew when he passed the New York state bar exam in July 2011 and went on to become a nationally recognized activist in the immigration rights movement. Our American dreamer is an undocumented immigrant and has been living in the U.S. since he was five years old.  

Vargas is the co-founder of the pro-immigration reform group Dream Action Coalition. He made headlines when he accepted a position on the campaign of Democratic candidate and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, as the Latino outreach strategist.  

Recently, I sat down for coffee and a short chat with Vargas.  

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Marlena Fitzpatrick: Can you explain what led you to become the poster child for Dreamers?  

César Vargas: My mother came to the U.S. to give me a better life. When I was six years old my mother took the decision to risk everything and leave everything behind to come to the U.S. to make sure that, hopefully one day, one of her children had the opportunity to go to school and get a good job—basically have the opportunities she didn’t have in Mexico. We came around 1989. We crossed the border. My mom must’ve been scared in the dark, in the desert. 

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