Most of us know people who are undocumented immigrants--we just don't know they are undocumented immigrants. They can be colleagues or classmates or co-workers, but they keep their lack of citizenship hidden. When I first met Jose Antonio Vargas, the author of this week's cover story, I knew him as a journalist, but I didn't know that he wasn't legal. I learned that only when he revealed his status publicly, something more and more people are doing, in part because of Jose's example. His decision was and remains controversial--some wondered whether you can trust a journalist who lied about his background--but I applaud his willingness to put his beliefs on the line. Like so many of the estimated 11.5 million undocumented in the U.S., Jose was brought to America as a child by his family. He was 12 years old and went to school and then college and then into the workplace. He was an American in all but name. In this issue, he writes about both his story and the search for a path to permanent-resident status and eventual citizenship made by so many of the undocumented whose only dream is to be American.
For our cover shoot, we worked with Jose to assemble 35 men and women who have come out as undocumented immigrants. They hail from Germany and India and Mexico and Israel and Nigeria and many other nations. They have revealed their status because they question the policies and politics that keep them in limbo. Each has a powerful story to tell. And you can hear them talk about their dreams at time.com/immigrantvideos and on our tablet editions.
Richard Stengel, MANAGING EDITOR