An American teenager has been released from immigration custody in Texas after being detained for almost a month, according to federal officials.
Francisco Erwin Galicia, an 18-year-old U.S. citizen who was allegedly born in Dallas and lives with his family in the Texas border city of Edinburg said he was driving with his brother and some friends on June 27 when they were stopped at a U.S. Border Patrol inland checkpoint in Falfurrias. Galicia said the federal agents separated him from his brother, who was born in Mexico but was living undocumented in the United States, according to ABC Dallas affiliate WFAA.
Galicia said he had his Texas state driver’s license, U.S. Social Security card and a copy of his birth certificate in his wallet at the time, but he was detained by Border Patrol for three weeks then transferred to the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement detention center in Pearsall, Texas.
Brian Hastings, Chief of Law Enforcement at the U.S. Border Patro says there is more to the story.
Brian Hastings, Chief of Law Enforcement at the U.S. Border Patrol, on the U.S. citizen detained by CBP: “Throughout the process, and while he was with Border Patrol, he claimed to be a citizen of Mexico…at no time in Border Patrol custody did he say that he was a U.S. citizen” pic.twitter.com/UGp4l1Surw
— Ryan Saavedra (@RealSaavedra) July 26, 2019
“I can give you some preliminary: the individual came through the Falfurrias checkpoint, he came through with the other illegal aliens, the individual claimed to be a Mexican national who was born in Reynosa, Mexico,” Hastings said. “Throughout the process, and while he was with Border Patrol, he claimed to be a citizen of Mexico with no immigration documents to be in or remain in the U.S.”
“Upon further investigation, we also found he had a border crossing card and that border crossing card he had used 53 times to cross the border into the U.S. which gives us further indication that he was not a U.S. citizen,” Hastings continued. “At no time in Border Patrol custody did he say that he was a U.S. citizen.”
In addition, Galicia is not fluent in English despite family claims that he was born and raised in the United States. And his mother, who is not a citizen, took out a U.S. tourist visa in his name while he was still a minor, falsely saying he was born in Mexico, Galan said. His mother, Sanjuana, told The Washington Post that CBP discovered the visa after fingerprinting her son. The conflicting documents only fueled the agency’s suspicion that Galicia’s U.S. documents were fake, Galan said.
Sanjuana said she took out the tourist visa for her son because she saw it as the only way he could travel back and forth across the border to visit family. The undocumented mother was unable to get him a U.S. passport because when Galicia was born, Galan said, she gave a different name for herself on his birth certificate.
The teen’s attorney, Claudia Galan, said that Galicia plans to file a Bivens action against CBP and ICE.
A Bivens action is a lawsuit for damages when a federal officer allegedly violates the U.S. Constitution.
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