On June 22, 2011, after more than a decade of writing news stories (covering the 2008 presidential campaign, reporting on tech culture and profiling notable people like Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg), I published a story in the New York Times. It was my life story -- a deeply personal story that exposes the greater universal truth about our immigration system.
Since publishing "My Life As an Undocumented Immigrant," I've done a round of media interviews and heard from countless people via email, Twitter and Facebook. I want to thank all of the individuals who have both challenged and supported me, as well as ask those who have not yet done so to join me.
I decided to leave my job as an award-winning journalist and come out about my immigration status in order to launch the project "Define American." I knew it would be a risk, but I also knew it was long past time to strike up a more civil, sensible and inclusive debate about immigration in America. I was tired of staying silent.
We may not all agree on how to fix it, but one thing we can all agree on is that our immigration debate is out of control and our immigration system is badly broken. I believe that not only can we do better, but that we must.
Will you sign the pledge to stand with me -- Jose Antonio Vargas -- in saying that it's time for a new national conversation on immigration? Define American. Pledge to ask questions, debate, listen, and learn.
Some would say my story is the tale of a hard-working immigrant who defines the American dream: achieving success against great odds, working hard and paying taxes, and even earning a part of a Pulitzer Prize for my reporting. Still, despite everything I've achieved, the law still says I am not technically an American. I am undocumented.
I want to ask my fellow Americans: what would you do, if you found out at age 16 that you didn't have the right papers? As a journalist, my job is to ask questions that spark conversation. Now I am asking you to join in.
Sign the pledge to "Define American", share it with everyone you know, and then leave us a comment about what you would do if you found out you were undocumented. I will bring your comments with me as I head to the next round of media interviews.
We all have a story to tell, so let's talk. Let's debate. Most importantly, let's listen.