— Radley Balko (@radleybalko) July 15, 2014
Undocumented immigrant and Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Jose Antonio Vargas has been released by McAllen, Texas Border Patrol after being detained for several hours.
“As an unaccompanied child migrant myself, I came to McAllen, Texas, to shed a light on children who parts of America and many in the news media are actively turning their backs on,” Vargas said in a statement. “But what I saw was the generosity of the American people, documented and undocumented, in the Rio Grande Valley. I’ve been released by Border Patrol. I want to thank everyone who stands by me and the undocumented immigrants of south Texas and across the country.”
Border Patrol arrested the activist in Texas on Tuesday during his attempt to pass through security at McAllen-Miller International Airport, United We Dream said in a statement. Vargas is associated with the nonpartisan network, which advocates for the fair treatment of immigrant youths and their families.
He was questioned by Border Patrol on Tuesday morning, said Ryan Eller, director of Define American, an initiative that Vargas founded.
A Filipino-born activist, reporter, and filmmaker, Vargas is arguably the most famous undocumented immigrant in the United States. He emigrated from the Philippines when he was 12 years old, and revealed his true immigration story in a 2011 New York Times article. Vargas explained in the article that he didn’t know his green card was fake until he tried to apply for a driver’s permit at the age of 16…
Vargas said he didn’t know about the Border Patrol checkpoints “about an hour’s drive north of the border”, or that “Border Patrol agents stand alongside Transportation Security Administration personnel to check documentation – even for domestic flights” until he was already in the Rio Grande Valley.