Last Updated:November 27 @ 11:19 am

Obama admin refuses to act against journalist in US illegally

By Steve Karnowski

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - Immigration authorities said Monday they won't take action against a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist who was arrested in Minnesota for driving without a valid license.

Jose Antonio Vargas attracted national attention last year when he revealed that he's an illegal immigrant. He was scheduled to speak at Carleton College in Northfield last Friday but never made it.

When a state trooper stopped him in Minneapolis for driving with headphones on, Vargas produced a canceled Washington state driver's license, said Lt. Eric Roeske, a spokesman for the Minnesota State Patrol.

"He did not have a valid license, and the identification he produced when the trooper ran a check on it indicated it was canceled due to some sort of fraudulent activity, so there was some doubt to his actual identity," Roeske said.

Vargas was booked at the Hennepin County Jail and released on his own recognizance Friday pending a court appearance set for Oct. 18. The State Patrol contacted Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Roeske said, but the federal agency did not block his release.

An ICE spokeswoman in Washington said Monday that the agency intends to leave Vargas alone because he's not a high priority.

"Mr. Vargas was not arrested by ICE nor did the agency issue a detainer," Gillian Christensen said in an email statement. "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."

Vargas was part of a Washington Post team that won a Pulitzer in 2008 for coverage of the Virginia Tech massacre. The revelation about his immigration status, in an essay published in the New York Times Magazine in June 2011, raised questions about what his former employers knew of his legal status. The Post condemned him for keeping it secret.

Washington state officials canceled Vargas' driver' license in July 2011. He wrote in his essay that he obtained it after the Oregon license he used to get his job at the Post expired.

Vargas did not immediately return messages seeking comment Monday.

He wrote in his Times essay that his mother sent him from the Philippines to live with grandparents in California in 1993 when he was 12 years old. He wrote that he didn't find out he was in the country illegally until he applied for a driver's permit with forged documents.

Vargas now leads an initiative called "Define American," which campaigns for immigration reform.

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  1. csbridgComment by csbridg
    October 9, 2012 @ 8:22 am

    Aside from the fact that he is in the US illegally, this kind of fraud would land most legal US citizens in jail.

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    Rating: 4.6/5 (16 votes cast)
  2. inluminatuoComment by inluminatuo
    October 9, 2012 @ 8:40 am

    This guy’s Pulitzer prise in journalism is obviously as worth as much as Obama’s Nobel Prize for Peace.,,,,Zilch

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    Rating: 4.7/5 (15 votes cast)
  3. lizzietookanaxeComment by lizzietookanaxe
    October 9, 2012 @ 8:57 am

    Mr. Vargas may not be a recent illegal entrant to the United States but his conceited pretensions of being an American certainly are “egregious” in their own right. Send this faux immigrant home.

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    Rating: 4.6/5 (11 votes cast)
  4. Picky WassahComment by Picky Wassah
    October 9, 2012 @ 9:03 am

    Wow the law is the Law…but no for Americans any more…

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    Rating: 4.3/5 (10 votes cast)
  5. Rick Susan AyalaComment by Rick Susan Ayala
    October 9, 2012 @ 11:34 am

    How can an illegal, wherever he maybe from, and who is stopped by
    a police officer and produces an invalid driver’s license, be apprehended and later released at his own recognizance? Why wasn’t he turned over to ICE and be scheduled for deportation? This administration panders to Latinos at this time, because Obama wants
    their vote. Obama, openly defies our laws simply for political reasons. This is stupidity to the highest degree and deserves explanation to the american people. Obama is using Lyndon B. Johnson’s strategy. Tell Latinos how compasionate you are and they
    will kiss your black posterior. This President has done nothing to
    improve the Latino’s lives, other than poromoting socialist agendas
    of redistribution. Hugo Chavez of Venezuela, mirrors what Obama
    is doing. Give stuff (benefits) for free and folks will become
    used to it and will forget to produce income for the treasury by
    finding honest work. It is called the “Dole” british style, where
    folks forget to work and wait for the government $$$$$ to be gambled
    or used for booze.
    In Britain, millions live this way and the “Pub” is their usual

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  6. nickster99Comment by nickster99
    October 9, 2012 @ 11:39 am

    When obummer leaves office in January. Mitt is going to have his work cut out for him reversing all of this idiot’s mistakes. He must make that his number 1 priority when he takes over.

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  7. bajaratComment by bajarat
    October 9, 2012 @ 11:40 am

    This parasite Vargas should have been deported a long time ago, but instead the corrupt and despicable ObaMao regime is turning a blind eye and this pendejo Jose is being treated like some sort of celebrity instead of the criminal he is. The rule of law means nothing in this nation anymore…. unless you are a citizen, that is.

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  8. mach37Comment by mach37
    October 9, 2012 @ 7:35 pm

    What is not “egregious immigration law” violation about this person? Applying “for a driver’s permit with forged documents” strikes me as criminal activity.

    Released on is own recognizance? How are immigration authorities to keep track of him? On what grounds can ICE justify not deporting him? Obama’s say-so?

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