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Teenage U.S. Citizen Detained by Immigration Authorities for More Than Three Weeks


Detention Center

An 18-year-old, Dallas-born American citizen has been in U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) custody for more than three weeks.

According to a Dallas Morning News report from Monday, Francisco Erwin Galicia was detained at a CBP checkpoint in Falfurrias on June 27. He was traveling with his 17-year-old brother Marlon Galicia and a group of friends to Ranger College in North Texas for a soccer scouting event. Marlon, who was born in Mexico and lacked legal status, had no travel documents on him. Francisco had a Texas ID that can only be obtained via a Social Security number.

“We were confident that we’d be able to pass,” Marlon said. After two days in custody, Marlon signed a voluntary deportation form and is currently staying in Mexico with his grandmother. “I signed because I wanted to talk with my mom,” he said.

Francisco told his mother that he was detained because he didn’t have his U.S. passport, but he did reportedly show officers his Texas ID. According to his mother, Sanjuana Galicia, Francisco was not allowed access to a phone for the three weeks he was in CBP custody but has been able to make collect calls to his mother since Saturday, after he was transferred into ICE custody.

Galicia’s attorney Claudia Galan met with CBP officers last week and presented them with Galicia’s birth certificate, but was unable to secure his release.

“I presented then with his original birth certificate and other documents and they ignored them. So now I’ve faxed over all the documents to the ICE agent handling the case,” Galan said. “He’s going on a full month of being wrongfully detained. He’s a U.S. citizen and he needs to be released now.”

Galicia is reportedly still being held at ICE’s South Texas Detention Center and the ICE detainee locator systems list him as being born in Mexico.

This story comes on the heels of the Trump Administration’s push towards increasing the speed of deportations and a high-profile instances of ICE and CBP-related false arrests.

Galan was scheduled to go to the detention center again as of Tuesday to try and secure Galicia’s release.

[Photo via Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty]

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Matt is an Editor at Law & Crime and former Editor-in-Chief of Popdust