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After spending hours detained, prominent undocumented journalist Jose Antonio Vargas was released from U.S. Border Patrol custody on Tuesday.

Vargas had been detained earlier that day after attempting to board a flight in the town of McAllen, Texas.

“I’ve been released by Border Patrol. I want to thank everyone who stands by me and the undocumented immigrants of south Texas and across the country,” he said in a statement. “Our daily lives are filled with fear in simple acts such as getting on an airplane to go home to our family. With Congress failing to act on immigration reform, and President Obama weighing his options on executive action, the critical question remains: how do we define American?”

If you recall, a TSA agent at the McAllen-Miller Airport initially cleared Vargas’ Philippines-issued passport when he attempted to board a flight Tuesday morning. But when he couldn’t produce a U.S. visa at the request of an agent, he was placed in custody.

“Do you have your visa?” the agent asked, according to audio of the exchange.

“No, there’s no visa,” Vargas replied.

Vargas was processed at the McAllen Border Patrol station, provided with a notice to appear before an immigration judge, and ultimately released after consultation with Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

“Mr. Vargas has not previously been arrested by ICE nor has the agency ever issued a detainer on him or encountered him,” the Department of Homeland Security said in a statement. “ICE is focused on smart, effective immigration enforcement that prioritizes the agency’s resources to promote border security and to identify and remove criminal individuals who pose a threat to public safety and national security.”

For more information on the border crisis, click here.

SOURCE: Huffington Post | PHOTO CREDIT: Getty

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