Texas Native Detained by ICE Released Tuesday
An 18-year-old Dallas native detained by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement for three weeks was released Tuesday after reports of his situation gained nationwide attention.
FOX News reports that Francisco Erwin Galicia of Edinburg's release from ICE’s Pearsall holding facility came weeks after he was taken into custody at an inland border checkpoint while traveling north with his brother and friends. Francisco showed a wallet-sized birth certificate and Texas ID card to agents, but was detained because agents suspected the documents might be fraudulent.
To complicate matters, the Associated Press reports that Francisco's 17-year-old brother, Marlon, was in the country illegally. The Dallas Morning News reports that he willingly agreed to be returned to his native Mexico after two days in custody. Francisco and Marlon were reportedly headed north to a soccer scouting event when they were stopped at the checkpoint.
Francisco's mother, Sanjuana Galicia, told the Dallas Morning News she falsely claimed Francisco was born in Mexico when she sought a visitors visa for her son when he was a minor. She thought the visa would make it easier for Francisco to visit family in Mexico, and feared that without he wouldn't be able to get back into the U.S. due to her lack of legal status. When Francisco was finally able to place a collect call to his mother, she sent her son's birth certificate to ICE along with a congratulatory certificate given to her by staff at Parkland Memorial Hospital in Dallas the day Francisco was born on December 24, 2000.
Francisco's attorney, Claudia Galan, told the AP her client was a victim of racial profiling, and that his mother's actions when he was a child were no excuse for ICE detaining a U.S. citizen and holding him for so long. The AP cites examples of ICE and U.S. Customs and Border Protection detaining citizens, many of whom were released shortly after their legal status was confirmed. In one case, however, a citizen was held for over three years.