Immigration activists protest journalist detained
Wed, 16 Jul 2014 02:07:33 GMT —
Protesters gathered outside the McAllen Border Patrol station all day Tuesday demanding award winning journalist and filmmaker Jose Antonio Vargas be released
These young undocumented immigrants wanted to show the nation to be undocumented on the border is not the same as they are trapped between the Rio Grande and Border Patrol checkpoints.
"We are trapped in this cage. We are trapped here and its time that we are free, Minority Affairs Council organizer Tania Chavez said.
14 years ago, Tania came to the U.S. from Mexico. She's earned two masters degrees but can't leave the Rio Grande Valley.
"It TMs time that we are free, that we stand up for our freedoms, that we pursue our dream, the pursuit of happiness and the ability to provide for our families, Chavez said.
The laws haven TMt changed, but the national media attention has.
"Now the nation is going to know that we are trapped but it took Jose Antonio to come to the valley," Chavez said.
Vargas, also an undocumented immigrant, came to the Valley to work on a documentary film highlighting the current border crisis.
When it came time to leave though, he realized he was trapped.
Knowing he is an undocumented immigrant from the Philippines, he tweeted The only ID TMs I have for security: Philippine passport and my pocketbook U.S. Constitution.
His field producer Evelyn Escamilla told Action 4 News minutes after presenting his documents, he was placed in handcuffs
"The minute we saw the TSA agents come and take his passport away we knew it wasn't going to be good and within a couple of minutes he was handcuffed and taken to a Border Patrol vehicle," Escamilla said. When he was being taken out to the Border Patrol vehicle I asked him if he needed me to do anything and he looked at me with tears in his eyes and said ~can someone just please call my grandmother and let her know I TMm ok. TM
The National Border Patrol Council tweeting out "It TMs about time #deportjose." Ryan Eller, campaign director for Define American addressed the media during Vargas TM detainment.
"We are calling on President Obama and Secretary Johnson to exercise prosecutorial discretion and immediately release Jose Antonio Vargas from Customs and Border Protection today," Eller said.
While Border Patrol did release Vargas Tuesday evening, activists continue to call for executive action to change immigration laws.
"Despite what the government says, this is our home and we are fighting to stay in our home, Chavez said.
Although many of these undocumented immigrants have lived in the U.S. for years, many explained they live in constant fear.
When I didn TMt have my DOCA I was scared to take a bus trip or just go to a local store because I was afraid BP was going to catch me, immigration activist Abraham Diaz said.
When I would drive I would be scared border patrol driving next to me, are they going to stop me today, immigration activist Luis Maldonado said. We weren TMt able to go to our dream university.