School to Be Named After Journalist, Undocumented Immigrant - NBC Bay Area


The latest news from around the Peninsula

School to Be Named After Journalist, Undocumented Immigrant



    The Best Places on Earth
    Jeff Hahne/Getty Images for Define American
    Jose Antonio Vargas at The Harvey B. Gantt Center for African American Arts + Culture on May 11, 2017 in Charlotte, North Carolina.

    At a divisive time for U.S. immigration policies, a California school board has decided to name a new elementary school after an award-winning journalist who disclosed in 2011 that he had been living in the U.S. illegally.

    The Mountain View Whisman School District board voted Thursday to name the as-yet-unopened school after Jose Antonio Vargas, bypassing Steve Jobs and other technology giants with ties to the San Francisco Bay Area's high-tech Silicon Valley.

    "We wanted to pick someone who embodied the values of what you can do with an education, as Jose does," school board president Laura Blakely told the San Francisco Chronicle .

    The move comes as the Trump administration faces a growing backlash from human-rights adocates over its immigration practices.

    Immigration Protest in San Francisco

    [BAY] Immigration Protest in San Francisco

    Hundreds of people gathered at the Immigration and Custom’s Enforcement headquarters in San Francisco Friday protesting against the Trump Administration’s policy of separating immigrant parents from their children along the border. Sergio Quintana reports.

    (Published Saturday, June 16, 2018)

    Nearly 2,000 minors have been separated from their families at the U.S. border over a six-week period during a crackdown on illegal crossings, the Associated Press found.

    U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions also announced that asylum protections will no longer be offered to victims of domestic violence and gang violence.

    Vargas emigrated with his family from the Philippines to the U.S. when he was 12 years old. The Chronicle was among the places he worked in his early career. Vargas went on to earn a Pulitzer Prize for journalism and then took on the role of immigration activist.

    He revealed his undocumented status in a New York Times Magazine essay in 2011.

    "As a proud product of the Bay Area's public school system, I am overwhelmed by this totally unexpected and deeply meaningful honor," Vargas said in a statement.

    Vargas is also an openly gay man who came out at his Mountain View high school in 1999, Advocate reported

    Contentious WH Briefing Highlights Conflict Over Immigration

    [NATL] Contentious WH Briefing Highlights Conflict Over Trump Immigration Policy

    A contentious White House press briefing broke out between press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders and the White House press corp on Thursday, after reporters pressed Sanders on the Trump administration's policy to separate immigrant families at the border.

    (Published Friday, June 15, 2018)

    The school will open in August 2019. Blakely said Vargas' name was initially floated about a year ago.

    "He's been the face of the American dream for so many students who came here as children, and really grew up as Americans without having citizenship," she said.

    Get the latest from NBC Bay Area anywhere, anytime
    • Download the App

      Available for IOS and Android