Jose Antonio Vargas comes from a family of gamblers, and in his new book, “Dear America: Notes of an Undocumented Citizen,” he’s upping the ante — or maybe, given the current executive’s predilection for travel bans and family separations, he’s going all in. Vargas recalls the enormous wager his family made 25 years ago, when his mother brought him to Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Manila and put him on a flight to California. He was 12 years old, and he would go to America first. Mama, as he calls her throughout his memoir, promised to follow.
Twenty-five years later, Mama is still in the Philippines, and Jose is still in the United States — no longer based in Mountain View, Calif., where he was sent to live with his maternal grandparents, but traveling around the country as an activist filmmaker and a writer, without a fixed address where he might be apprehended.