An elementary school set to open in Mountain View, Calif., next summer will be named after an illegal immigrant.
The new school will be named after award-winning journalist Jose Antonio Vargas, after the Mountain View Whisman School District board voted on Thursday.
Vargas emigrated from the Philippines with his family to America when he was 12 years old.
In a statement after the vote, Vargas said, “As a proud product of the Bay Area’s public school system, I am overwhelmed by this totally unexpected and deeply meaningful honor.”
I never imagined or wished or dreamt of this. Jose Antonio Vargas Elementary School is dedicated to all undocumented students and their parents and families. We are here. We are an intrinsic part of every community 👇🏽 https://t.co/SyuvaoDdTh
— Jose Antonio Vargas (@joseiswriting) June 15, 2018
According to the San Francisco Chronicle, Vargas worked for the Washington Post and was a member of a team that won a Pulitzer Prize for coverage of the Virginia Tech shooting in 2007.
It also said that Vargas revealed his undocumented status in 2011, in a New York Times Magazine essay.
“On the surface, I’ve created a good life. I’ve lived the American Dream. … But I am still an undocumented immigrant. And that means living a different kind of reality,” Vargas wrote.
The decision to name the yet-to-be opened school after Vargas comes amid growing backlash against immigration practices and policies by the Trump administration.
According to the Associated Press, nearly 2,000 children have been separated from their families at the country’s border.
Mountain View Whisman School District board President Laura Blakely said that the decision was also motivated by recent immigration news.
“We wanted to pick someone who embodied the values of what you can do with an education, as Jose does,” she said.