Jose Antonio Vargas: My detention wasn't a stunt

Jose Antonio Vargas: My detention wasn't a stunt
CNN's Reliable Sources
Immigration Crisis

POSTED: Wednesday, July 16, 2014 - 7:55am

UPDATED: Wednesday, July 16, 2014 - 9:51am

(CNN) -- A Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and undocumented immigrant who was detained at a southern Texas airport this week said Wednesday the incident wasn't a stunt.

Asked how it was possible that he didn't know he would get extra scrutiny at the border airport, Jose Antonio Vargas told CNN's "New Day" that he didn't anticipate being detained in McAllen, Texas, after visiting a shelter where undocumented immigrant children were being held.

"Is it a stunt to get on a plane to leave to try to get out of south Texas?" he asked. About his detention, he added: "That's the risk undocumented people take every day."

On Tuesday, U.S. Border Patrol agents detained the journalist-turned-activist at the McAllen airport after he told them he was in the country illegally, officials said.

Vargas became an outspoken advocate pushing for an overhaul of the nation's immigration laws in 2011, when he revealed he was undocumented -- having entered the United States from the Philippines as a child -- in a column for The New York Times Magazine.

Vargas at the very latest knew by last week, after he'd arrived in McAllen on Thursday, that he might have difficulty leaving the area by plane or by land. In a piece that we wrote for Politico, he said acquaintances informed him after he arrived that border patrol agents check IDs at the airport, and that immigration checkpoints are set up along roads within 45 miles of the city. 

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