Vargas was arrested in Hennepin County by the Minnesota State Patrol, according the MinnPost in Minneapolis. Born in the Philippines, he came to California as a child and didn't learn he was undocumented until he tried to get a driver's license at age 16. A Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, he gained national prominence with his article about life as an undocumented immigrant for the New York Times Magazine.
"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," according to the MinnPost.
Vargas quit his job at the Washington Post last year to start the nonprofit Define American, which seeks to elevate the discussion about immigration in the U.S. He was reportedly headed to Carlton College, where he was scheduled to speak.
He wrote that he was able to get a valid Oregon driver's license after his California license expired in 2011.
While in high school, Vargas got his start in journalism as a newsroom intern for the Mountain View Voice.