Formerly Undocumented Attorney Completes Military

Cesar Vargas and his mother, Teresa Galindo, meet before his graduation from the Army Reserve’s Basic Combat Training.  Photo: Courtesy of Cesar Vargas.

Cesar Vargas makes 4th of July surprise homecoming.


Staten Island, NY— After more than five months, formerly undocumented attorney and national activist Cesar Vargas completed his military training from Fort Leonard Wood in Missouri. Specialist Vargas surprised his mother, Teresa Galindo, 74, at a family barbecue on Staten Island as she celebrated Independence Day. 

Specialist Vargas graduated from his Advance Individual Training as a Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear specialist where he received the highest award of the cycle as a “Distinguished Honor Graduate” for high physical, academic scores and helping other immigrant soldiers. 

“I am finally home to recover from the back pain, blisters, lack of sleep and intense training. Nevertheless, enlisting in the military was worth it to protect my mother, keep a promise, serve the country I have called home for almost three decades, and show the contribution of immigrants in our nation’s military,” said Vargas, whose enlistment in the U.S. Army reserve marked the culmination of a remarkable journey from undocumented attorney to trail-blazing national activist for immigrant rights. 

Born in Puebla, Mexico, Vargas immigrated to the U.S as a 5 year old with his mother. Ms Galindo couldn’t attend her son’s graduation ceremony inside the military base due to her undocumented status even though she made the long journey from New York City to Missouri. Throughout the nation, cases of undocumented immigrants detained by ICE at military bases have increased. Specialist Vargas is currently assisting his mother obtain legal immigration status through his military service. 

Specialist Vargas also assisted other immigrant soldiers through the naturalization process even though he did not qualify for expedited citizenship through the military due to recent policy changes under the Trump administration. 


About Ramón Jiménez

Ramón Jiménez, Managing Editor de MetroLatinoUSA.Com (MLN). Graduado de la Escuela de Periodismo de la Universidad del Distrito de Columbia (UDC). Email:

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