An 18-year-old Dallas-born U.S. citizen has been in the custody of U.S. Customs and Border Protection and Immigration and Customs Enforcement for more than three weeks, his attorney says.
Now his family fears he may be deported.
Francisco Erwin Galicia was detained at a CBP checkpoint in Falfurrias on June 27, said Claudia Galan, his attorney.
Galicia was traveling with his 17-year-old brother Marlon Galicia and a group of friends from Edinburg where they live to Ranger College in North Texas for a soccer scouting event when they came upon a CBP checkpoint, said Sanjuana Galicia, his mother.
It was about 8 p.m. Marlon, who was born in Mexico and lacked legal status, had only been through a border checkpoint on school trips and had never been pressed to provide travel documents.
But this time was different, Marlon said. He had only a school ID. His brother was carrying only his Texas ID, which can only be obtained with a Social Security number.
“We were confident that we’d be able to pass. We were going to do something good for our futures,” he said. “I didn’t imagine this could happen and now I’m so sad that I’m not with my family,” Marlon said by phone from Reynosa, Mexico, where he is staying with his grandmother.
After two days in detention, Marlon signed a voluntary deportation form.
“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,” Marlon said.
Francisco Galicia told his mother, who lives in Edinburg, that he was detained because he didn’t have his U.S. passport. But she said he did present CBP with his Texas ID.
Galicia wasn’t allowed to use the phone for the three weeks he was in CBP custody, Sanjuana Galicia said. But he has been able to make collect calls to his mother since Saturday, when Galicia was transferred to ICE’s custody.
Galan said she met with CBP officers last week and presented them with Galicia’s birth certificate and some other documents but was unsuccessful in getting him released. She plans on presenting the same documents to ICE officers later this week.
“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.”
The Dallas Morning News reviewed a copy of the birth certificate and it lists Galicia as having been born at Parkland Memorial Hospital on Dec. 24, 2000. Other documents include a congratulatory certificate his mother was given by hospital staff when he was born, a high school ID and a health insurance card.
Neither ICE nor CBP responded to requests for comment.
The ICE detainee locator system shows Francisco Galicia is being held at the South Texas Detention Facility in Pearsall and lists him as being born in Mexico.
Sanjuana Galicia said she lived in Dallas from 1998-2001 and moved to South Texas after his birth.
“I need my son back,” she said. “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.”
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