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Detained Texas Teen Is New Immigration Flashpoint

US-born Francisco Erwin Galicia has been held 3 weeks, says attorney
By Newser Editors,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 23, 2019 11:00 AM CDT
New Immigration Flashpoint: A Detained American Teen
File photo of a US Border Patrol vehicle.   (AP Photo/Russell Contreras, File)

(Newser) – Francisco Erwin Galicia was born in Dallas 18 years ago and has lived in the city all his life, says his attorney. The problem is that Galicia has been held by Customs and Border Protection for three weeks now after being stopped at a checkpoint, the attorney says, and his family fears he may be sent to Mexico. The details get complicated, but Galicia's case is generating attention amid the debate over immigration policies. Coverage:

  • The stop: On June 27, Galicia was traveling with his brother and friends to a college in North Texas to try out for a soccer team when they were stopped at a CBP checkpoint in Falfurrias, Texas, reports the Dallas Morning News. Galicia was able to provide his Texas ID, which can be obtained only with a Social Security number, but authorities apparently suspected it was a fake. His 17-year-old brother, Marlon, who was born in Mexico and isn't a US citizen like his brother, voluntarily agreed to be deported.
  • Mom intervenes: Galicia's mother says she has provided CBP with her son's birth certificate. The Morning News has seen that document, and it shows that he was born in Dallas in December 2000. She also provided his high school ID and an insurance card. Authorities haven't released him, however, and some irregularities might explain why.

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  • Bogus info: The Washington Post has additional details that shed light on CBP's suspicions. When Galicia was a boy, his mother, who isn't a US citizen, got a travel visa for him that fraudulently stated he was born in Mexico. She says she did so because at the time she thought it was the only way he could travel to Mexico to visit family. His mother also put a different name for herself on his birth certificate.
  • Now what: Family attorney Claudia Galan says she has explained the unusual circumstances to CBP authorities to no avail, and she plans to visit him in the South Texas Detention Facility Tuesday. She hopes a new round of paperwork will get him released. CBP officials haven't commented on the case.
  • AOC involved: The case has caught the attention of Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who has made the situation at the border a major focus of her first year. "CBP is detaining *American citizens,*" she tweeted. "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."
  • From the right: The conservative site Twitchy faults AOC and other emerging critics for not having the full story. "Blame his mom, not CBP," reads a post, taking note of the details in the Washington Post story.
  • Other cases: Galicia's plight might not be all that uncommon. Last year, the Los Angeles Times reported that immigration officials have released nearly 1,500 people since 2012 after investigating their claims of US citizenship.
(Read more immigration stories.)

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