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Undocumented Journalist Jose Antonio Vargas Released After Being Detained

Jose Antonio Vargas in handcuffs at McAllen/Miller International Airport.
Jose Antonio Vargas in handcuffs at McAllen/Miller International Airport.

UPDATE, July 16, 6:17 a.m.: The Associated Press reportsJose Antonio Vargas has been released by U.S. Border Patrol agents after being detained at McAllen/Miller International Airport Tuesday morning.

The Border Patrol said in a statement that Vargas was arrested at the airport after he told an agent he was in the country illegally. He was released on his own recognizance late Tuesday with a notice to appear before an immigration judge.  

ORIGINAL POST: Journalist-turned-immigration activist Jose Antonio Vargas has been detained at . He was detained while trying to board a plane to Los Angeles. Vargas was visiting the border to support his organization, United We Dream,and “to highlight the stories of refugee children who have fled countries in Central America." 

In an essay for Politico Magazine, Vargas wrote: “I didn’t think twice about visiting the Texas border. But I didn’t know what I was getting myself into and knew nothing about life as undocumented in a border town in Texas, where checkpoints and border patrol agents are parts of everyday life.” Vargas has been using his passport from the Philippines to travel, but he doesn't have a visa.

The only IDs I have for security: Philippine passport and my pocketbook US Constitution @DefineAmerican & @MAC_UTPA— Jose Antonio Vargas (@joseiswriting) July 15, 2014

Vargas came to the U.S. at age 12. When he went to get his driver’s license at 16, he was told his green card was a fake. He built a journalism career, and was part of the Washington Postreporting team that won a Pulitzer Prize for coverage of the Virginia Tech shootings. He revealed he was an undocumented immigrant to the New York Timesin 2011.

Here's a video the South Texas newspaperposted of Vargas being questioned by McAllen Border Patrol agents.

He’s been taken to the McAllen Border Patrol Station.

Here's a photo of @joseiswriting in handcuffs, because the Border Patrol has nothing more pressing to do apparently— Ryan Grim (@ryangrim) July 15, 2014

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Krystina Martinez is an assistant producer at KERA. She wakes up bright and early to produce local content for Morning Edition and She also co-produces The Friday Conversation, a weekly interview segment with North Texas newsmakers.