Francisco Erwin Galicia is an 18-year-old United States Citizen born in Dallas who was detained by Customs and Border Protection and detained for three weeks despite presenting his state ID and social security card, his attorney told The Dallas Morning News.
Galicia was detained at a CBP checkpoint in Falfurrias, Texas on June 27, attorney Claudia Galan told the outlet. 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 event when they were stopped, his mother added.
Marlon, who is undocumented, only had a school identification card but Francisco Galicia had a Texas state ID and other documents. Both brothers were detained and Marlon signed a voluntary deportation form after two days of detention. Francisco Galicia told his mother that he was detained because he did not have his passport, even though he did not leave the country.
Galicia was not allowed to use the phone for three weeks, his mother told The Dallas Morning News, but was able to call on Saturday after he was transferred to the custody of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
Galan told the outlet that she presented the agency with Galicia’s birth certificate and other documents but has not been able to get him released.
His family now fears he may be deported.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Francisco Galicia Had His State ID When He Was Stopped by CBP
Galicia, 18, was traveling with his brother Marlon, 17, and some friends to a soccer scouting event in North Texas when they were stopped at a CBP checkpoint.
Marlon, who is undocumented, only had his school ID.
Francisco Galicia presented the agents with his Texas state ID card, a wallet-sized Texas birth certificate, and his Social Security card, Galan told The Washington Post.
Despite presenting the documents, he was detained along with his brother.
2. CBP Detained Galicia Over Suspicion His Documents Were Fake
Galicia was detained over suspicion that his documents were fraudulent because others in the car did not have proper ID, Galan told The Post, adding that he is one of hundreds of American citizens who have been mistakenly detained by immigration authorities and forced to prove their citizenship in recent years.
“He’s been here all his life,” Galan told the outlet, but “when Border Patrol checked his documents, they just didn’t believe they were real. They kept telling him they were fake.”
Neither CBP nor ICE have commented on the report but ICE records show that Galicia is being held at the South Texas Detention Facility in Pearsall, Texas.
3. ICE Refuses to Release Galicia Despite Documents
Marlon Galicia signed a voluntary deportation form within two days of being taken into custody. He said he signed the form so he could talk to his mother, The Dallas Morning News reported.
“We were confident that we’d be able to pass. We were going to do something good for our futures,” Marlon told the outlet. “I didn’t imagine this could happen and now I’m so sad that I’m not with my family.”
“I signed because I wanted to talk with my mom. Now, we just have to wait and see and hope that they release my brother,” he added.
Francisco Galicia continues to remain in custody. He was unable to use the phone while held for three weeks by CBP but was able to contact his mother after being transferred to ICE custody over the weekend.
Galan presented ICE with Galicia’s birth certificate and other documents but was unable to get him released.
“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 told The Morning News. “He’s going on a full month of being wrongfully detained. He’s a U.S. citizen and he needs to be released now.”
Galan told The Washington Post that Galicia’s case has been delayed because his mother took out a US tourist visa in his name while he was still a minor, falsely stating he was born in Mexico.
His mother, Sanjuana, told The Post that CBP discovered the visa after fingerprinting Francisco. Galan said the document fueled suspicions that Galicia’s documents were fake.
Sanjuana told the outlet that she obtained the visa because she believed it was the only way for him to cross the border to visit family in Mexico. His mother, who is undocumented, said she could not obtain a passport for her son because she used a different name for herself on his birth certificate.
4. Galicia Was Born in Dallas and Has Extensive Paperwork Showing He is a Citizen
The Dallas Morning News and Washington Post both reviewed Galicia’s documents.
The teen’s birth certificate shows he was born at Parkland Memorial Hospital on December 24, 2000. He also has a social security card, a state ID, a high school ID, and a health insurance card.
Galan told The Post that she explained the mother’s error to officials and sent documents showing Galicia is a citizen but the teen remains detained.
Galan said she will work quickly to try to stop Galicia from being deported.
“He speaks English, but he just thinks they’re going to trick him into signing a removal order and that he’ll end up getting deported,” she said.
His mother said she is “desperate” for her son to be released.
“All of the abuse he has gone through pains me,” she told The Post. “I can’t sleep thinking that they are going to harm him because they think he is lying about his citizenship.”
5. Rep. AOC Join Calls to Have Galicia Released
New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez joined mounting calls for Galicia to be released.
“CBP is detaining *American citizens,*” she wrote. “How would you feel trapped in a border camp, where guards wear face masks because the human odor is so strong? When we allow the rights of some to be violated, the rights of all are not far behind.”
Hundreds of US citizens have been mistakenly detained by ICE. According to a Los Angeles Times investigation, ICE has had to release 1,480 people it detained since 2012 because they proved to be citizens.
The right-wing Cato Institute estimated that ICE targeted hundreds of US citizens in Texas between 2005 and 2017.
“I need my son back,” Galicia’s mother told The Morning News. “I just want to prove to them that he is a citizen. He’s not a criminal or anything bad. He’s a good kid.”