Best-Known Undocumented Immigrant Released

Journalist, filmmaker Jose Antonio Vargas temporarily held at Texas airport

By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff

Posted Jul 15, 2014 11:05 AM CDT | Updated Jul 15, 2014 5:52 PM CDT

(Newser) – Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Jose Antonio Vargas, whose documentary on undocumented immigrants aired last month on CNN, was released by US Border Patrol agents after being detained earlier today at a Texas airport, the AP reports. Though it's not clear if this was the case with Vargas, the AP notes it's common for the Border Patrol to release people on their own recognizances, with notices to appear in court later. With such notices, people can generally travel throughout the US without being detained again.

Vargas, who revealed his undocumented status in a 2011 essay, was at the border with Mexico to support child migrants; after arriving, he learned that he was in a specially-patrolled area and may not be allowed out without documentation, Business Insider reports. "I didn’t realize just how much a militarized zone the Texas border is," Vargas told the Dallas Morning News on Sunday. The journalist tweeted earlier today that he was "about to go thru security at McAllen Airport. I don’t know what’s going to happen." A Huffington Post reporter then tweeted a photo of Vargas being handcuffed an hour later. Vargas came to the US at age 12, CNN notes. His only IDs for airport security, he tweeted, are his "Philippine passport and my pocketbook US Constitution."

In this Feb. 13, 2013 file photo, Jose Antonio Vargas testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington.
In this Feb. 13, 2013 file photo, Jose Antonio Vargas testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington.   (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File)
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