Journalist Jose Antonio Vargas detained by US Border Patrol

-A A +A

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

McALLEN, Texas -- Prominent Philippines-born immigration activist and Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Jose Antonio Vargas, who has lived and worked in the US for years without legal documentation, was detained Tuesday by US Border Patrol agents at a South Texas airport.

Border Patrol spokesman Omar Zamora said Vargas was in custody, but he had no other details about the case.

Vargas had been in McAllen, a city along the Mexico border, for several days as part of a vigil drawing attention to the plight of unaccompanied immigrant children and families coming into the US illegally. At the city's airport, near the border, Border Patrol agents stand beside Transportation Security Administration agents to check documentation, even for domestic flights.

On Tuesday morning, Vargas tweeted: "About to go thru security at McAllen Airport. I don't know what's going to happen."

His spokeswoman, Maria Cruz Lee, declined immediate comment. She said a statement would be issued later in the day.

The security situation at the McAllen airport — and elsewhere in the city — is familiar to the thousands of people living illegally in the US along the Texas-Mexico border. Along highways out of the city, drivers are stopped at Border Patrol checkpoints about an hour's drive north of the border. And it's not uncommon for children who entered the country illegally with their parents to grow up in the Rio Grande Valley to stay home when classmates go on field trips along those roadways to San Antonio.

Vargas, a native of the Philippines, had flown to McAllen last Thursday to take part in a vigil. In an essay he wrote for Politico on Friday, Vargas said he has travelled in the US for years without a problem but didn't realize that immigration checks are done on those driving or flying out of the Rio Grande Valley in South Texas. Vargas noted that he doesn't have any government-issued US identification.

His last tweet Tuesday morning was a photograph of his Philippines passport and a palm-size copy of the US Constitution.

Vargas went public about his immigration status in a 2011 piece for the New York Times Magazine. He was part of a team of reporters at the Washington Post that won a Pulitzer Prize in 2008. He also directed a documentary called "Documented," and founded the activist group "Define American." (AP)

DISCLAIMER: Sun.Star website welcomes friendly debate, but comments posted on this site do not necessary reflect the views of the Sun.Star management and its affiliates. Sun.Star reserves the right to delete, reproduce or modify comments posted here without notice. Posts that are inappropriate will automatically be deleted.

Forum rules: Do not use obscenity. Some words have been banned. Stick to the topic. Do not veer away from the discussion. Be coherent and respectful. Do not shout or use CAPITAL LETTERS!

Sun.Star Jobs
  • Habemus Papam
  • Philippine Polls
  • Obituary
  • Sun.Star Zup!
  • Technology
  • Pnoy
  • Filipino Abroad
  • ePaper
  • goodearth
  • Pacman blog
  • Sinulog
  • Sunstar Multimedia
  • Festivals
  • tell it to sunstar
  • SunStar Celebrity
  • Calamity Report