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Published: Tuesday, 7/15/2014

Immigrant advocate is arrested at border


Jose Antonio Vargas, a journalist and activist who has publicly said he is an illegal immigrant, was taken into custody today by the U.S. Border Patrol in McAllen, Texas, as he tried to board a plane.

Vargas was in McAllen to join a vigil for thousands of children who have been crossing the border from Central America in recent months.

Last week Vargas wrote an article for Politico, telling how he had discovered that getting out of the border town might be impossible because he had not realized that it is surrounded by Border Patrol checkpoints that require people to show citizenship documents.

His apprehension poses a dilemma for the Obama administration, which will now have to decide how to handle his case at a time when the border situation has made all decisions about immigration high profile and politically fraught.

Vargas, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, wrote about his status as an undocumented immigrating in The New York Times Magazine. In a post on Twitter today, he said his only forms of identification were a Philippines passport and “my pocketbook U.S. Constitution.”

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