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Undocumented Pulitzer Prize Winner Detained

Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and undocumented activist Jose Antonio Vargas has been detained in a Texas border town.
Posted at 4:25 PM, Jul 15, 2014

The most famous undocumented immigrant in the United States is facing an uncertain future after being detained. (Via Getty Images)

"My name is Jose Antonio Vargas. I am the director of a documentary film called 'Documented,' and I'm one of the 11 million undocumented immigrants in this country who call America our home." (Via CNN)

Vargas is a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and activist who has lived in the United States since coming over from the Philippines as a child in 1993. (Via TED

He was reportedly visiting the small town of McAllen, Texas, to interview undocumented minors who were being kept there when he was stopped at the airport, as seen in this video from local news outlet The Monitor

The Twitter account of Vargas' organization Define American then tweeted that he had been detained and was being taken to the McAllen border patrol station. (Via Twitter / @DefineAmerican)

Working as a journalist most of his life, Vargas came to prominence after penning an essay in The New York Times Sunday Magazine in 2011 about his life as an undocumented immigrant. 

And he really hasn't kept a low profile since then. 

He's made the media rounds from "The Colbert Report" ...

"Why did you finally come out of the closet as an illegal alien — as an undocumented immigrant — whatever."

... to immigration hard-liner Lou Dobbs' show.

"You have an opportunity to become citizens — do it! Please give us, please give us a process." (Via Fox Business)

With all those high-profile media appearances over the last three years, it's not unreasonable to wonder why Vargas is just now being detained for his undocumented status. 

It's actually a question a number of publications have been asking since Vargas came to prominence. (Via Politico, Mother Jones, The Wire)

In fact, Vargas wondered it himself, writing in his 2012 Time cover story: "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."

Vargas is probably the most well-known undocumented immigrant in the U.S., so there isn't really a precedent for his case, and nobody seems to know what is going to happen now. (Via Getty Images)

White House press secretary Josh Earnest reportedly declined to comment on Vargas' detention at a press briefing on Tuesday.