July 15, 2014
Prominent immigration activist and former journalist Jose Antonio Vargas has been detained at McAllen-Miller International Airport.
Vargas was trying to leave McAllen, a Texas border town where he attended a vigil for unaccompanied immigrant children and families illegally entering the U.S., for Los Angeles. The Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist tweeted just before he was about to enter security, along with an image of his documents:
About to go thru security at McAllen Airport. I don’t know what’s going to happen. For updates follow @DefineAmerican & @MAC_UTPA— Jose Antonio Vargas (@joseiswriting) July 15, 2014
The only IDs I have for security: Philippine passport and my pocketbook US Constitution @DefineAmerican & @MAC_UTPA pic.twitter.com/IFH0Vb4oX7— Jose Antonio Vargas (@joseiswriting) July 15, 2014
Huffington Post's Ryan Grim tweeted a photo of Vargas in custody:
Here's a photo of @joseiswriting in handcuffs, because the Border Patrol has nothing more pressing to do apparently pic.twitter.com/dN8KewqeZr— Ryan Grim (@ryangrim) July 15, 2014
Since revealing his undocumented status in a 2011 essay for the New York Times, Vargas became the face of the immigration movement, appearing on the cover of TIME in 2012 and releasing a film, "Documented," that aired on CNN.
"I feel stupid," Vargas wrote in a text message sent over the weekend to Washington Post reporter Ernesto Londoño. "I've been traveling around the country, visiting 43 states in like 3 years, and I've been flying using my Philippine passport. But I've never been to the Texas border area. I just figured I could use the passport. But apparently I can't because border patrol agents check foreign passports."
South Texas newspaper The Monitor obtained a video showing Vargas being questioned at the airport, and reports that the Minority Affairs Council is holding a peaceful protest across the street to support Vargas.
July 15, 2014