Jose Antonio Vargas grew up in the United States, but he doesn’t have the proper immigration papers to live here. He grew up wanting to see his name in newspapers, because he thought it would validate his presence in the U.S. With his latest documentary, Vargas has more than proven his worthiness to be here.
Varga’s “Documented” is a tremendously personal film. The Pulitzer-winning journalist has been extremely open about his personal life since coming out as an undocumented immigrant in a 2011 New York Times magazine essay, but he offers an even more intimate window on his life — and family’s — in this documentary, his second.
Directed by Vargas himself, the documentary centers around his experience as he prepared to come out in the Times. He began shooting the documentary two months before the essay was published.
We follow Vargas around the country as he speaks at college campuses and visits conservative towns and rallies where undocumented immigrants are not welcomed. In scene after scene we see him patiently and respectfully reminding people that “there is no line” for him to join to acquire citizenship. These scenes deftly position immigration as the most controversial and least understood political issue in the nation.
In one scene, Vargas visits a Mitt Romney 2011 campaign stop in Iowa and engages the Republican presidential candidate’s supporters.