A teenage American citizen from Texas has been detained for nearly a month in a migrant detention facility after being detained by U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
Francisco Erwin Galicia was traveling by car to a college soccer tryout with his brother and friends when they were stopped at a Border Patrol checkpoint and asked to provide documentation of their legal status in the U.S.
Galicia, 18, was able to give officers his birth certificate, which states he was born in Texas, his social security card, and a Texas-issued ID. Galicia’s 17-year-old brother, Marlon, who was born in Mexico and does not have legal status in the U.S., was not able to produce any documentation. CBP officers were suspicious that Galicia’s documentation was fraudulent because he was in the company of his brother, who is an unauthorized immigrant.
Marlon voluntarily deported after two days in custody, but Galicia remained at a south Texas migrant detention center while agents worked to verify his identity and legal status. Matters were further complicated by the fact that Galicia’s mother took out a fake U.S. tourist visa in her son’s name falsely claiming that he was born in Mexico.
The discrepancy caused further delays, and agents eventually began removal proceedings for Galicia. His mother claimed that she believed the fake visa was the only way her son would be able to travel back and forth between Texas and Mexico to visit family.
Galicia’s attorney said, “He’s been here all his life … when Border Patrol checked his documents, they just didn’t believe they were real. They kept telling him they were fake.”
Galicia remains in detention as agents further work to verify his authorization to be in the U.S. Meanwhile, his mother remains fearful that her son could get deported to Mexico saying, “All of the abuse he has gone through pains me … I can’t sleep thinking that they are going to harm him because they think he is lying about his citizenship.”
Galicia’s attorney, Claudia Galan, has vowed to go directly to the migrant detention center where her client is being held to secure his release.