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Detained Citizen Says He Lost 26 Pounds, Couldn't Shower

Francisco Galicia and his mother are suing two agencies
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 28, 2019 11:00 AM CDT
Francisco Galicia, left, greets his mother, Sanjuana Galicia, in McAllen, Texas, on Wednesday after being released from federal immigration custody.   (Delcia Lopez/The Monitor via AP)

(Newser) – Francisco Galicia, the US-born 18-year-old who spent more than three weeks in border custody in Texas, says he's suing two agencies over conditions in the immigrant detention center. Galicia says he lost 26 pounds before he was released last week. Along with 60 other men, Galicia said, he was packed into a holding area, where they slept on the floor with only aluminum-foil blankets for bedding, he told the Dallas Morning News. Some slept on the bathroom floor. Galicia said he wasn't allowed to shower during his 23 days in captivity. Some detainees were ill, he said, but didn't ask to see a doctor because agents told them their cases would start over if they did. “It was inhumane how they treated us," Galicia said, adding, "I just needed to get out of there."

Galicia was taken into custody on his way to a soccer scouting event in Texas with his brother and friends, though he had documents showing that he's a US citizen. He spent time in the custody of Customs and Border Protection, as well as Immigration and Customs Enforcement. "They wanted to psychologically intimidate him to the point he’d sign his own deportation order," his mother, Sanjuana Galicia, told the Guardian. "We’re suing over the abuse my son endured." The family is trying to get her younger son Marlon, who's undocumented, back into the US. He was picked up at the same time and agreed to be deported. Marlon, 17, is now in the city of Reynosa, and his family fears for his safety because of the presence of drug cartels. (Read more US-Mexico border stories.)

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