Activist Jose Antonio Vargas was arrested on Friday while in Minnesota and the police reported him to immigration officials, but they declined to issue a detainer that would have seen Vargas handed over to the ICE and possibly deported.
Vargas was arrested for a traffic violation on Friday morning for driving without a valid driver's licence. Vargas was originally pulled over for driving while wearing headphones. Vargas' arrest is notable because, as MinnPost points out, the county he was arrested in regularly participates in the Bush-era immigration initiative Secure Communities:
His arrest here on a traffic violation is newsworthy because the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office, which operates the county jail, participates in Secure Communities, a Bush administration initiative to secure local law enforcement cooperation in reporting undocumented immigrants to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials.
Minnesota state police officials did report Vargas to ICE. A police spokesman explained to Politico that when the arresting officer ran Vargas' Washington driver's license it came up that it was cancelled, and was flagged for fraudulent activity:
“He did produce a Washington driver’s license” after being pulled over, Roeske said. “When the trooper ran the license, it showed the status [of the license] was canceled. It also indicated there may have been fraudulent activity associated with the license, that’s why [it might have been] canceled. That triggered the trooper to look into that further and contact ICE (U.S Immigration and Customs Enforcement).”
The spokesman wouldn't elaborate further on what "fraudulent activity" was associated with Vargas' license. But ICE officials thankfully declined not to take action action against Vargas. Don't drive with your headphones in, kids.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.