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Reporter and Undocumented Immigrant Jose Antonio Vargas Detained at Texas Airport

Reporter Jose Antonio Vargas, who came out as an undocumented immigrant in 2011, has been reporting on the border crisis in McAllen, Texas, where he has been “stuck” for several days — the city is surrounded by U.S. border checkpoints, and Vargas lacks the necessary documentation to pass through them.

According to Define American, Vargas’ organization, Vargas was detained on Tuesday morning attempting leave the area via the McAllen airport and is currently being taken to the McAllen Border Patrol Station.

Vargas tweeted just before he entered the airport of the risk he was taking:

Vargas, who was part of a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporting team for the Washington Post and has since become a documentary filmmaker, wrote about the legal netherworld he had unintentionally entered in POLITICO Magazine last week:

I can only travel within the United States and, for identification, when I fly I use a valid passport that was issued by my native country, the Philippines. But each flight is a gamble. My passport lacks a visa. If TSA agents discover this, they can contact CBP, which, in turn, can detain me. But so far, I haven’t had any problems, either because I look the way I do (“You’re not brown and you don’t look like a Jose Antonio Vargas,” an immigration advocate once told me), or talk the way I do—or because, as a security agent at John F. Kennedy International Airport who recognized me said without a hint of irony, “You seem so American.”

I might not be so lucky here in the valley. I am not sure if my passport will be enough to let me fly out of McAllen-Miller International Airport, and I am not sure if my visibility will continue to protect me—not here, not at the border.

Watch video of Vargas being questioned by airport officials below, via Monitor News:

[Correction: We previously stated that Vargas was arrested, but further reports seem to indicate he was detained. We’ve updated accordingly.]
[Image via screengrab]

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