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Immigration activist detained, freed

McALLEN, Texas — Prominent immigration activist and Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Jose Antonio Vargas, who has lived and worked in the United States illegally for years, was released by US Border Patrol agents Tuesday after they detained him at a South Texas airport.

Border Patrol spokesman Omar Zamora said Vargas was stopped going through security at the airport in McAllen, only a few miles from the Mexico border. A spokeswoman for Define American, Vargas’s advocacy group, confirmed his release Tuesday afternoon.

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Vargas had been visiting the border city of McAllen for several days as part of a vigil to highlight the plight of unaccompanied immigrant children coming into the country illegally.

But at McAllen/Miller
International Airport, Vargas knew he could have problems. Border Patrol agents stand alongside Transportation Security Administration personnel to check documentation, even for domestic flights, and he was carrying only a passport from the Philippines and a palm-sized copy of the US Constitution.

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