Pinoy 'TNTs' bracing themselves for Trump presidency –Jose Antonio Vargas
Pulitzer Prize-winning Filipino-American journalist Jose Antonio Vargas on Thursday said undocumented Filipinos in the US are "bracing" themselves following the victory of Republican bet Donald Trump in the recently concluded US elections.
"Given the reality of a Trump presidency, I think we're all kind of bracing ourselves for whatever that may mean to us specifically, as TNT (tago nang tago), as people call us in the Philippines," he said in a live interview on State of the Nation.
Vargas, an immigration activist who five years ago revealed his status as an undocumented immigrant in an essay, said he himself is adjusting his mindset to what could happen to him under the Trump presidency.
"I'm adjusting my mindset to try to figure out, if Donald Trump says Jose Vargas must leave, you know, what does that mean? What does it look like for me? Especially I've been so vocal and visible in the past five years," he said.
During the campaign, Trump, a wealthy real-estate developer and former reality TV host, repeatedly issued stern anti-immigration warnings, threatening to crack down on illegal immigration on the belief that immigrants pose hidden threat.
That Trump, accused of being a racist and a bigot by his critics, won the US elections came as a surprise to many Americans, Vargas said.
"I think a lot of Americans are still in a state of shock about it, trying to understand how this country could elect someone who is against so many things that we are for," he told anchor Jessica Soho.
Personally, however, Vargas said he was not surprised by Trump's victory, noting "the crisis of government" in the US. He said in his travels across the US, he noticed that a lot of people "are angry and fearful and upset at the government."
"There is a crisis of government in this country. A lot of Americans do not trust Washington DC, and what's been happening in Washington DC," he said.
"I don't think this is necessarily Trump-specific. I think Trump became a vessel for people's frustrations. I think a lot of people just feel very fed up by not being listened to by Washington," Vargas added.
Vargas moved to the US in 1993 at the age of 12 to join his grandparents in California. Four years later, he learned that he was in the US illegally.
In June 2011, Vargas, then 33 years old, revealed in an essay in the New York Times Magazine that he was an undocumented immigrant, and since then became the face the immigration movement in the US. —KBK, GMA News