Deporting immigration activist and documentarian Jose Antonio Vargas, who famously revealed he was an illegal immigrant in a New York Times op-ed in 2011 and was arrested trying to leave McAllen, Texas, this morning, would be like sending black Americans back to Africa, according to one CNN guest.
Although she believed that many of the unaccompanied children currently at the border should be returned to their home countries, the Daily Beast’s Keli Goff felt Vargas’s situation merited different treatment and that he shouldn’t be expected to go back to the Philippines, which he left at the age of 12 years old. Meanwhile, her opposing panelist, Crystal Wright of ConservativeBlackChick.com, said that Vargas should not be given preferential treatment simply because he wasn’t caught when he first came to the country illegally.
Goff countered that sending Vargas back to a country where he was unfamiliar with the culture would be similar to both she and Wright being sent to Africa because of their ancestry.
“If you dropped me off in Africa, I couldn’t speak the language, I wouldn’t have any cultural ties to the continent, even though it is the continent of my origin,” she said. Wright immediately called it a false equivalence because enslaved Africans were forcibly brought to the Americas and did not break the law, but that didn’t stop Goff from continuing to make the case for Vargas.
“He has no cultural ties to the country in which he was born,” Goff continued. “What I’m saying is, return me to a country where I have no cultural ties because I wasn’t raised there, I don’t think that’s fair — I wouldn’t know how to survive there.”