‘US citizen wrongfully detained’ by border patrol
A teenager has been detained by border officials for nearly a month despite being a US citizen, his lawyer says.
Francisco Erwin Galicia, who was born in Dallas, was detained at a checkpoint while travelling to a football scouting event in Texas, his family says.
Lawyer Claudia Galan said officials have refused to release the 18-year-old, who is Hispanic, even though he has documents proving citizenship.
The BBC has contacted Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) for comment.
Mr Galicia’s mother, Sanjuana Galicia, told the Dallas Morning News that her son had been travelling with his brother and friends from their home in Edinburg, in the south of Texas, to a college west of Dallas on 27 June.
She said the group was stopped at a checkpoint soon into their journey.
Mr Galicia’s 17-year-old brother, Marlon, was born in Mexico and does not have US citizenship.
Marlon was detained – but so was Francisco, who was carrying a Texas ID which can only be obtained with a social security number, the family said.
Marlon agreed to be deported to Mexico within a couple of days, and is now living with his grandmother.
Meanwhile, Francisco spent three weeks in the custody of Customs and Border Patrol (CBP), where his mother says he was unable to make phone calls. In recent days, he has moved to ICE custody and has been able to call his mother.
Mrs Galan said she had presented Francisco’s birth certificate and other documents to prove he is a US citizen, but has been unable to get him released.
“He’s going on a full month of being wrongfully detained,” his mother said. “He’s a US citizen and he needs to be released now.”
Mr Galicia’s case may have been complicated by the fact when he was younger, his mother applied for a Mexican tourist visa that incorrectly said he was born in Mexico, his lawyer says.
News of Mr Galicia’s detention comes amid an outcry at conditions in US detention centres on the border with Mexico.
Lawmakers visiting some of the facilities said last month children and adults were being severely neglected in overcrowded and inhumane conditions.
The House of Representatives has pushed through a $4.5bn bill in emergency aid for the border.
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