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Immigration activist on way to Carleton arrested for driving with invalid license

  • Star Tribune
  • October 6, 2012 - 6:24 PM

New York journalist and immigration activist Jose Antonio Vargas was arrested Friday by the Minnesota State Patrol for driving with an invalid driver's license.

Vargas, 31, who was in Minnesota to speak at Carleton College in Northfield about being an undocumented immigrant, was driving on Interstate 35W southbound when he was pulled over near 46th Street S. in Minneapolis for driving with headphones in his ears, State Patrol spokesman Lt. Eric Roeske said Saturday.

When the officer found that Vargas' Washington license had been cancelled due to possible fraudulent activity, immigration officials were notified through the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. The rental car he was driving was towed at the request of the rental company, Roeske said, and Vargas was booked around 10:50 a.m. into the Hennepin County jail. He was released about three hours later and later said via his Twitter page, "Thank you to everyone for your support. I am fine."

Vargas, a Philippines native and former Washington Post reporter, started the immigration campaign Define American. He revealed in 2011 that he is an illegal immigrant and in an Associated Press article then, he said he was able to get an Oregon license because the state has less stringent requirements.

Vargas was scheduled to speak at Carleton at 10:50 a.m. Friday.

He is to appear in Hennepin County District Court on Oct. 18 on the misdemeanor charge.

KELLY SMITH

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