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DFA airs concern over Pulitzer-winning Fil-Am’s arrest

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Foreign Assistant Secretary Charles Jose: Concern AP FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines–The on Thursday expressed concern over the recent arrest and detention of Pulitzer Prize-winning Fil-Am journalist Jose Antonio Vargas, who has become an activist for undocumented immigrants in the United States.

Vargas has since been released by US border patrol agents in McAllen, Texas.

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Foreign Assistant Secretary Charles Jose, also the DFA spokesman, expressed the department’s concern, noting that “over 10 million undocumented immigrants are in the US who travel within the US without issue.”

“We express concern that Mr. Vargas, a well-known immigration activist, had been arrested while boarding his flight within the US at the McAllen airport in Texas,” Jose said in a statement.

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“We hope the US federal government will treat Mr. Vargas’ case with utmost fairness considering the circumstances,” he added.

Vargas, 33, has been living in the US illegally since he was a child. He is a known journalist in the US and was part of the Washington Post team that won the Pulitzer Prize in 2008 for its coverage of the Virginia Tech massacre.

In 2012, he wrote an essay in which he revealed his plight as an undocumented immigrant. Soon after, he founded the advocacy group Define American.

He had been in McAllen for several days to take part in a vigil highlighting the plight of unaccompanied South American children coming into the US illegally and overwhelming Border Patrol facilities.

Vargas was arrested at the McAllen-Miller International Airport on Tuesday after he told an agent he was in the country illegally.

He was released the same day on his own recognizance with a notice to appear before an immigration judge.

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TAGS: Department of Foreign Affairs, Fil-Ams, Foreign affairs, Immigration, Jose Antonio Vargas, Philippines, US
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