Immigration authorities said Monday they won’t take action against Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Jose Antonio Vargas, who was arrested in Minnesota for driving without a valid license.
Vargas was part of a Washington Post team that won a Pulitzer in 2008 for coverage of the Virginia Tech massacre. He became an immigrants rights activist and garnered national attention in June of last year when he revealed that he’s an undocumented immigrant. Vargas now leads an initiative called “Define American,” which campaigns for immigration reform.
A state trooper stopped him in Minneapolis for driving with headphones on, and arrested him after a check of his driver’s license revealed that it had been revoked by the authorities in Washington State, said Debra Schneider, a lawyer for Mr. Vargas. After the traffic stop, he was taken to the Hennepin County jail, where he was questioned by agents from Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the federal agency known as ICE. He was released Friday afternoon with no immigration charges being filed.
“Mr. Vargas was not arrested by ICE nor did the agency issue a detainer,” said Gillian Christensen, an agency spokeswoman. “ICE is focused on smart, effective immigration enforcement that prioritizes the removal of public safety threats, recent border crossers and egregious immigration law violators, such as those who have been previously removed from the United States.” Agents determined that Mr. Vargas did not fit any of those priority categories for detention, Ms. Schneider said.