Jose Antonio Vargas arrested for driving without a valid license

Journalist turned immigration activist Jose Antonio Vargas was arrested Friday in Minnesota for driving without a valid license. The offense typically leads to a citation, rather than an arrest, reports Beth Hawkins for MinnPost, so it’s unclear why Vargas was arrested. He was released soon after and tweeted:

Vargas is scheduled to appear in court in two weeks, on Oct. 18, Hawkins reports.

The arrest is notable in part because the county where it happened “participates in Secure Communities, a Bush administration initiative to secure local law enforcement cooperation in reporting undocumented immigrants to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials. In response, ICE routinely places deportation holds on undocumented individuals.”

Vargas wrote this summer in Time magazine that the ICE was unaware of him because he had never been arrested:

I spend every day wondering what, if anything, the government plans to do with me. After months of waiting for something to happen, I decided that I would confront immigration officials myself. Since I live in New York City, I called the local ICE office. The phone operators I first reached were taken aback when I explained the reason for my call. Finally I was connected to an ICE officer.

“Are you planning on deporting me?” I asked.

I quickly found out that even though I publicly came out about my undocumented status, I still do not exist in the eyes of ICE. Like most undocumented immigrants, I’ve never been arrested. Therefore, I’ve never been in contact with ICE.

“After checking the appropriate ICE databases, the agency has no records of ever encountering Mr. Vargas,” Luis Martinez, a spokesman for the ICE office in New York, wrote me in an e-mail.

Vargas revealed in a June 2011 first-person account for The New York Times Magazine that he discovered his undocumented status as a teenager and kept it secret during his years working for The Washington Post. His driver’s license was revoked the following month.

We have made it easy to comment on posts, however we require civility and encourage full names to that end (first initial, last name is OK). Please read our guidelines here before commenting.

  • BajaRat

    This parasite Vargas should have been deported a long time ago, but
    instead the corrupt and despicable ObaMao regime is turning a blind eye
    and this pendejo Jose is being treated like some sort of celebrity
    instead of the criminal he is. The rule of law means nothing in this
    nation anymore…. unless you are a citizen, that is.

  • Wilfredo Andaluz

    If he can be deported, i think it is not hard for him to find a job in the Philippines especially in Philippines mass media, Maybe, they will have interest to hire him due to his education and work experience in American mass media,

  • Sage Basil

    Si no le gusta ser llamado ilegal, no entrar en los Estados Unidos ilegalmente.

    This guy wasn’t just driving without a licence, he was rubbing everyone’s face in it. When is he going to be deported, and when is he going to get in line like the white girl in college from Britain who were recently deported? It seems like the laws only apply to white people.

  • Anonymous

    Another criminal that is being allowed to walk for political reasons.

  • lop2bwp

    Mr. Vargas should apply for the proper documentation needed to stay in this country legally, rather than continuing to thumb his nose at the system. Now he has, in fact, had a brush with the law, driving on a cancelled license.

    We have a family friend that has been on a waiting list to immigrate from Taiwan. She has been on that list for almost twenty years now. She is wealthy, owns businesses in the United States and has family that is in this country legally, yet she still sits and waits. When she comes to the States on a tourist visa to visit her family, she leaves when she is required to. I would much rather have her here, someone that has patiently waited while the system slowly grinds along, than someone like Mr. Vargas, with his entitlement mentality.

  • Mary Tillotson

    There are journalists all over the world risking their lives to report on criminal regimes. This Vargas guy wants us to weep because he sneaked into the US to avail himself of bene’s here ahead of those who applied legally and are (many of them) STILL waiting in line. What self-absoption. Hubris. Stupidity.

  • BajaRat

    This loathsome and obnoxious parasite Vargas is an illegal alien who has been thumbing his nose at Americans for years now and should have been deported years ago. Deport his sorry ass on the first plane to Manila.

  • Anonymous

    Why would any current journalist support someone who has violated prevailing law?

    If you have some sort of pre-existing bias in favor of such individuals, you shouldn’t be reporting anything, but simply move to join them!

    Absolutely nothing wrong with dropping a dime on either an illegal, or an un-licensed driver. And doing so is nothing that you should apologize for having done!

    To do otherwise is simply further proof of widespread media bias which reduces your credibility, should you continue to have any.