A US-born 18-year-old was released from immigration custody Tuesday after wrongfully being detained for more than three weeks, the AP reports. Francisco Erwin Galicia left a US Immigration and Customs Enforcement detention center in Pearsall, Texas, on Tuesday. His lawyer, Claudia Galan, confirmed he had been released, less than a day after the Dallas Morning News' reporting about his case drew national attention. ICE did not immediately comment. Nor did US Customs and Border Protection, which oversees the Border Patrol, the agency that first detained Galicia. Galicia lives in the border city of Edinburg, Texas, and was traveling north with a group of friends on June 27 when they were stopped at a Border Patrol inland checkpoint. According to Galan and the Morning News, agents apprehended Galicia on suspicion that he was in the US illegally even though he had a Texas state ID.
Galicia was detained for three weeks by the Border Patrol, then transferred to the ICE detention center Saturday. Galan said she believes Galicia was "absolutely" a victim of racial profiling. The others in the vehicle with him were all Latinos, including his 17-year-old brother Marlon, who was born in Mexico and was in the US illegally. Marlon told the Morning News that he agreed to be returned to Mexico. The Border Patrol apprehends people entering the US illegally, both directly at the US-Mexico border and with its series of highway checkpoints miles from the border. In most cases, agents glance at drivers passing through the checkpoints and let them pass quickly. A passport or proof of citizenship is not normally demanded to pass through an inland checkpoint. (Immigration authorities are not supposed to detain US citizens. But both ICE and CBP have apprehended citizens in the past.)