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Reporter and Immigration Activist Detained by Border Patrol
Scott Lucas | Photo: Courtesy Kolten Parker | July 15, 2014
Pulitzer prize winner Jose Antonio Vargas has been detained at a Texas airport.
Jose Antonio Vargas, a journalist who was brought to the United States illegally as a child from the Philippines, has been detained by the Border Patrol at McAllen/Miller International Airport in San Antonio, Texas. The Pulitzer Prize winner—who went to high school in Mountain View, graduated from SF State, and worked for the Chronicle—was in Texas to report a story on undocumented immigrants for Politico, where he wrote last week that, "for an undocumented immigrant like me, getting out of a border town in Texas—by plane or by land—won’t be easy. It might, in fact, be impossible."
Turns out he was right.
Early this morning, Vargas, who had been trying to board a LA-bound plane, tweeted that he was "about to go thru security at McAllen Airport. I don’t know what’s going to happen" and that, "the only IDs I have for security: Philippine passport and my pocketbook US Constitution."
Shortly after that, an immigration advocacy group announced that he had been detained and was taken to the McAllen Border Patrol Station. A picture of Vargas being detained has been shared widely online.
Vargas shared the Pulitzer with the team at the Washington Post for covering the Virginia Tech shooting in 2008. In 2011, he revealed in a New York Times essay that he had been living in the United States without authorization, and became an immigration reform advocate.
Update 3:12 pm: Vargas was released this afternoon by authorites, with the Department of Homeland Security issuing a statement saying, "He was released on his own recognizance after consultation with Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Mr. Vargas has not previously been arrested by ICE nor has the agency ever issued a detainer on him or encountered him."