Pulitzer Winning Immigration Activist Jose Vargas Detained at U.S. Airport

By @snksounak on
File photo of journalist and director of film "Documented", Jose Antonio Vargas, posing for a photograph in Los Angeles
Journalist and director of film "Documented", Jose Antonio Vargas, poses for a photograph in Los Angeles, California in this June 18, 2014, file photo. Reuters/Kevork Djansezian/File

Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Jose Antonio Vargas was detained at a U.S. airport on Tuesday, July 15.

Vargas, who is a well-known undocumented immigrant of America, was detained by U.S. Border Patrol agents at the McAllen airport in Texas. It was after Vargas told them that he was in the country without any legal documents. The activist, who has been fighting for immigration issues, was later released.

According to the official statement of Vargas, undocumented immigrants in the United States live with fear. "I want to thank everyone who stands by me and the undocumented immigrants of south Texas and across the country," the statement said. "Our daily lives are filled with fear in simple acts such as getting on an airplane to go home to our family."

Vargas founded "Define American" in 2011. The campaign director of the organisation, Ryan Eller, said that Vargas was stopped on his way to Los Angeles while passing through security at the airport. His is the spearhead of the media campaign on "immigration, identity, and citizenship in America." According to "Define American," the U.S. immigration system is "broken." The non-profit charitable group intends to hold talks on the issue for better awareness. Vargas, arguably the most prominent leader of the immigration movement, has a Filipino passport.

Vargas has been living in the U.S. since 1993 but this is the first time he was arrested for immigration related charges. According to his lawyers, however, deporting him from the country is still an unlikely possibility. His arrest was much publicised by his followers as they held a news conference outside the Border Patrol station while Vargas was detained.

Vargas said after his release that he was released as he was not considered as a threat to the United States. "I would argue that the 11 million undocumented immigrants in this country are not a threat either," he said. U.S. President Barack Obama is often criticised by Republicans for being lenient toward immigrants. He is blamed for encouraging Central American immigrants to cross the border.

Contact the writer: s.mukhopadhyay@ibtimes.com.au

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