Define American’s Founder, Jose Antonio Vargas Is Free


Jose Antonio Vargas

Define American’s founder Jose Antonio Vargas has been released by Border Patrol in McAllen after being detained while attempting to board a plane to Los Angeles.

But along the border, undocumented communities still remain trapped, unable to travel freely.

Vargas originally traveled to the border in support United We Dream (UWD) and Minority Affairs Council (MAC), a local UWD affiliate,  in order to highlight the stories of refugee children who have fled countries in Central America because of increased levels of violence. The organizations have been volunteering in shelters that provide support to children and families.

“While we’re glad that Jose Antonio has now been released, his arrest and detention prove once again that the Border Patrol is a rogue agency that should have determined that Jose was a low-priority case for detention and deportation,” said Cristina Jimenez, Managing Director of United We Dream. “Jose Antonio’s treatment by Border Patrol agents shows that the border is, in fact, secure if someone with his public profile is detained.” 

“The reality is that our undocumented communities along the border remain trapped and living in crisis. We have parents like Adela Menchaca, a mother of a U.S. citizen daughter, hasn’t left the border in 15 years as she’s surrounded by uncertainty and checkpoints.”
“For 17 years, I was trapped in my own country. I was unable to attend my dream university because I couldn’t leave McAllen. Thousands of people from our community along the border live this every day,” said Luis Maldonado, of Minority Affairs Council.

“Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals has allowed me the freedom to travel, but I still don’t feel free because my close friends and family are still unable to travel. This is why we remain committed to calling on President Obama to act big on administrative relief. Mothers like Adela deserve relief too. Jose Antonio deserves relief too. Our undocumented community deserves relief.”

United We Dream is the largest immigrant youth-led organization in the nation, a powerful nonpartisan network made up of 53 affiliate organizations in 26 states. UWD organizes and advocates for the dignity and fair treatment of immigrant youth and families, regardless of immigration status. We seek to address the inequities and obstacles faced by immigrant youth and believe that by empowering immigrant youth, we can advance the cause of the entire community—justice for all immigrants.

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