October 8, 2012

Politico | Minneapolis Star Tribune
An official with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement told Politico reporter Katie Glueck the agency didn’t issue a notice to Minnesota police that it intended to take custody of activist journalist Jose Antonio Vargas after he was arrested for driving without a valid license Friday.

“Mr. Vargas was not arrested by ICE and no detainer was issued,” an unnamed official wrote Glueck in an email.

An immigration detainer is a notice issued from the Department of Homeland Security to federal, state and local law enforcement agencies that tells them, “ICE intends to assume custody of an individual in [those agencies’] custody,” according to the ICE website.

Vargas drew the cops’ attention in the first place “for driving with headphones in his ears,” according to an account in the Minneapolis Star Tribune. He was on his way to Carleton College for a speaking engagement, Minnesota State Patrol spokesperson Eric Roeske told the paper.

When the officer found that Vargas’ Washington license had been cancelled due to possible fraudulent activity, immigration officials were notified through the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. The rental car he was driving was towed at the request of the rental company, Roeske said, and Vargas was booked around 10:50 a.m. into the Hennepin County jail. He was released about three hours later and later said via his Twitter page, “Thank you to everyone for your support. I am fine.”

Seattle Times reporter Lornet Turnbull reported last July that Vargas’ Washington state license was canceled not because he was in the country illegally but because he could not prove he lived in the state. His license was revoked one month after he revealed his undocumented status in an essay for The New York Times Magazine.

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Andrew Beaujon reported on the media for Poynter from 2012 to 2015. He was previously arts editor at TBD.com and managing editor of Washington City…
Andrew Beaujon

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