Activist Jose Antonio Vargas released by border patrol after arrest.
High-Profile Undocumented Activist Released After Being Detained at Border
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July 15 2014 8:53 PM

High-Profile Undocumented Activist Released After Being Detained at Border

Jose Antonio Vargas.

Photo by Allison Shelley/Getty Images

After being detained by U.S. Border Patrol on Tuesday morning, high-profile undocumented activist Jose Antonio Vargas was released later in the day, according to the Associated Press. Vargas was held for approximately eight hours before being released with the requirement that he appear before an immigration judge.

Here’s more from the AP:

In a statement late Tuesday, the Border Patrol said Vargas was arrested at the airport in McAllen after telling an agent he was in the country illegally. Vargas was released on his own recognizance with a notice to appear before an immigration judge. "Mr. Vargas has not previously been arrested by (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) nor has the agency ever issued a detainer on him or encountered him," the statement said. "ICE is focused on smart, effective immigration enforcement that prioritizes the agency's resources to promote border security and to identify and remove criminal individuals who pose a threat to public safety and national security."

Vargas, a former Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist, has lived and worked illegally in the U.S. for years after immigrating from the Philippines as a child. “Border Patrol spokesman Omar Zamora said Vargas was stopped while passing through security at the airport in McAllen, only a few miles from the Mexico border,” according to the AP. “Vargas had been visiting McAllen for several days as part of a vigil to highlight the plight of unaccompanied immigrant children coming into the U.S. illegally who have overwhelmed Border Patrol facilities.”

Elliot Hannon is a writer in New York City. Follow him on Twitter.