Jose Antonio Vargas: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know

Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Jose Antonio Vargas was detained at a Texas airport due to his status as an undocumented immigrant.

Vargas was in McAllen on his way to Los Angeles when CNN reports he was detained for not having “the proper documentation.” Above you can watch the tense situation unfolding in cell phone footage of Vargas speaking with security personnel.

Here’s what you need to know:

1. He Tweeted He Wasn’t Sure if He’d Get Through Security

Tweeting from his account, Vargas was concerned that he may not get through security, advising his followers to look for updates from activist group Define American, and the Texas Minority Affairs Council.

He also tweeted a picture showing that the only documents he was carrying with him were a pocket version of the U.S. Constitution, and passport from the Philippines.

2. He Was Held in the Airport

Vargas was detained in the airport and eventually released with orders to appear before an immigration judge.

Earlier this week, Vargas spoke to CNN from McAllen where he was speaking to undocumented immigrants, and was asked whether or not he felt he was “daring” immigration agents to deport him. You can watch that brief interview above.

3. He’s an Activist for Undocumented Immigrant Rights

jose antonio vargas


In 2011, Vargas revealed in an article in the New York Times Magazine that he was one of the millions of people residing in the United States who would be legally classified as an undocumented immigrant. Since then he has become an outspoken force on the side of immigration reform, most recently speaking out against the deportation of unaccompanied Central American children.

He is founder of the Define American non-profit and you can read more about it here.

4. He Recently Released the Film ‘Documented’

Vargas and CNN recently released the documentary Documented about his and others’ experiences as undocumented immigrants in the United States. You can watch the trailer for film above.

5. He Won a Pulitzer Prize for Coverage of the Virginia Tech Shooting



In 2008 at the young age of 27, Vargas won the Pulitzer Prize while at the Washington Post for his coverage of the 2007 shooting the Virginia Tech. Vargas, described as a “internet savvy” reporter, used Facebook to find witnesses and report on their accounts. He joined the breaking news team of the Washington Post in 2004.


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What a crock to claim “He’s an Activist for Undocumented Immigrant Rights”. He’s an anti-American invader. Anyone that deliberately enters this country as an illegal immigrate is an invader and therefore an enemy of this country. If we continue to allow this, this won’t be America anymore, it will be nothing but another poverty racked third world slum.

Thomas E Phillips Jr (@FredTownWard)

Let’s be clear; Jose Antonio Vargas is not a journalist, not an activist, but rather a career criminal, taking advantage of the current president’s refusal to enforce the immigration laws in order to do a “Nyaa, nyaa, nyaa, nyaa, nyaa” publicity stunt in the ABSOLUTE confidence that nothing will happen to him. In general I have been supportive of immigration, on the theory that it improves the population since lazy foreigners stay home, and once we first actually secure the border, I would be open to offering some sort of “earn your legal residency, earn your citizenship” option to illegal immigrants who can demonstrate good character otherwise.

For this stunt ALONE Jose Antonio Vargas should be required to go back to his country of origin, and to the very back of the line, behind all the illegal immigrants who at least have the decency not to thumb their noses at us.

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