Images of immigrants from Central America being tear gassed while trying to cross the U.S. border with Mexico are driving a national conversation about illegal immigration, but undocumented Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Jose Antonio Vargas says it’s just a small piece of the immigration puzzle.
Journalist Jose Antonio Vargas said the undocumented immigrants are coming from countries around the world and the focus is unfair to the people of Mexico and Central America.
"We’re missing undocumented Filipinos, Koreans, Vietnamese, we’re missing entire groups of people," he said.
Vargas added that addressing the issue isn’t possible until everyone has a better picture of who all the undocumented people are and their value.
Vargas' family brought him from the Philippines to Mountain View when he was 12. He didn't know he was not documented until he tried to get a driver’s license.
In conversation about his new book "Dear America" with NBC Bay Area’s Raj Mathai, the former Washington Post reporter said Americans need to broaden the conversation.
"With undocumented workers at restaurants and undocumented students at UCB and SF State and tech workers with H1-B visa put them in a room and said what do we do," Vargas said.
He said the answer may help guide immigration reform.
"We can't solve an issue we can't face," Vargas said. "Fully facing it means understanding all impacts."