Define 'American'

I don't know Jose Antonio Vargas personally, but I've always admired his work. His coverage of the 2008 presidential campaign was spot on and his stellar coverage of the student massacres at Virginia Tech University won him a Pulitzer Prize.

I've also felt a personal kinship. Both of us grew up in the Bay Area and attended San Francisco State University ; Jose as an African American studies major, me as a journalism major decades before.

Because we're Facebook pals, I know Jose left the Washington Post to take a job as digital guru at the Huffington Post. I thought making the move was pretty courageous of him.

But that doesn't even compare to the amount of courage it must have taken for Jose to tell the world that how, for more than 10 years, he has broken the law to hide his status as an illegal immigrant.

Jose says when Congress failed to pass the DREAM Act (Development Relief and Education for Alien Minors) in December, he decided to go public with his own story.

His mission is to enlist America to have a bigger, more honest conversation about immigration at ,where you can also read Jose's story.

I hope he succeeds.

By the way, read how former San Francisco Chronicle Editor Phil Bronstein says he was duped into hiring an illegal immigrant (Vargas) here.