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Illegal immigrant reporter loses license

By Associated Press
July 22, 2011

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SEATTLE - Washington state has canceled the driver’s license of a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist who publicly said he is an illegal immigrant.

Officials opened an investigation after Jose Antonio Vargas’s essay about his background was published in the New York Times Magazine in June, Department of Licensing spokeswoman Christine Anthony said yesterday.

Vargas wrote in the essay that he obtained a driver’s license in Washington this year after his Oregon license expired.

The Licensing Department sent Vargas a letter requesting proof of residency, and the letter was returned. The state canceled his license Monday.

In his essay, Vargas wrote about worrying that his Oregon license would expire when he turned 30.

“Early this year, just two weeks before my 30th birthday, I won a small reprieve: I obtained a driver’s license in the state of Washington. The license is valid until 2016. This offered me five more years of acceptable identification - but also five more years of fear, of lying to people I respect and institutions that trusted me, of running away from who I am,’’ Vargas wrote.

Because Vargas didn’t surrender his license, he will still have a card that he presumably can still use to board an airplane or obtain other services that require ID.

But if authorities run a background check, for example if Vargas gets pulled over while driving, it will show that the license is not valid, Anthony said.

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