McALLEN, Texas (CBS SF) – A journalist and immigrant rights advocate with Bay Area ties, who has lived and worked illegally in the U.S. for years, was released after being detained by the Border Patrol in Texas on Tuesday.
Jose Antonio Vargas was flying from the border town of McAllen when he was stopped at the airport.
Vargas announced that he was released a few hours later.
“Mr. Vargas has not previously been arrested by (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) nor has the agency ever issued a detainer on him or encountered him,” a Border Patrol statement said. “ICE is focused on smart, effective immigration enforcement that prioritizes the agency’s resources to promote border security and to identify and remove criminal individuals who pose a threat to public safety and national security.”
Vargas posted on Twitter that he was only carrying a Philippine passport and a copy of the Declaration of Independence and Constitution at the time.
The Associated Press reported that Vargas was released on his own recognizance with a notice to appear before an immigration judge, something that has commonly occurred during the current surge in immigration in South Texas. People who receive such notices can generally travel through the U.S. without being detained again.
Born in the Philippines, Vargas moved to the United States when he was 12. He graduated Mountain View High School and San Francisco State University.
Vargas won the Pulitzer Prize in 2008. Three years later, he revealed his undocumented status in an article in the New York Times. He is also the founder of the advocacy group Define American.
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