Pulitzer Prize Winning Journalist, Immigration Advocate and Illegal Immigrant, Detained Near Border

While trying to depart via McAllen airport in Texas.


Jose Antonio Vargas, a journalist who won the Pulitzer Prize with The Washington Post in 2008 for coverage of the Virginia Tech shooting and in 2011 revealed in a New York Times Magazine article that he was an illegal immigrant, was arrested at the airport in McAllen, Texas after visiting the border.

Vargas, who has become an immigration activist and visited the border before, in California. According to USA Today, Vargas was warned about a checkpoint near the border from a friend. In a tweet this morning Vargas said he was about to go through security at McAllen airport and didn't know what was going to happen. In a subsequent tweet he said his only form of ID is a (presumably expired) Phillipines passport and a pocket book Constitution.

Vargas founded the immigration advocacy group Define American in 2011 and insists illegal immigrants be called "undocumented Americans." Two years of feckless negotiating and horsetrading between the White House and Congress led to no new immigration legislation, just as the process at the end of the Bush administration did not lead to new legislation.

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  1. This guy got what he deserved. I’m an open borders advocate, but Vargas is simply trolling Customs and INS. He could have applied for and been granted an O-1 visa with no trouble whatsoever and become a “documented” American or whatever he wants to be called. But because he’d rather make political points, he refused to do so.

    This kind of grandstanding makes a mockery of how difficult and dangerous the world is for most people trying to come to this country.

  2. If employers were fined or punished in some way for hiring illegals, especially knowingly doing so, this shit would end in a hurry. We don’t even need any policy reform – there’s already a system in place. It’s called the I-9 form which is already a requirement for every employer. See:

    Since employment opportunity is the reason most illegals come here, curbing this incentive makes sense. Instead of spending billions of dollars on border security and deportation, implement a system to enforce the requirements already in place. I bet a hassle with ICE or even a fine over paperwork would deter a lot employers from taking the risk of hiring “undocumented” workers.

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