United States immigration authorities are wildly far from the perfectly on-point force that President Donald Trump and his allies make them out to be. A U.S. citizen who was born in the United States has been detained by those authorities for three weeks and counting, his lawyer has shared with media outlets. The detention began when 18-year-old Francisco Erwin Galicia — who was born in Dallas, Texas — showed up at a Texas Customs and Border Patrol checkpoint with his 17-year-old brother Marlon, who was born outside the U.S. and is not a citizen. Both were detained even though Marlon showed his school identification and Francisco presented his Texas state ID, which proved not just that he was allowed to be in the United States but that he was born in the country, since that can only be obtained with a social security number.
His attorney Claudia Galan shares:
‘He’s going on a full month of being wrongfully detained. He’s a U.S. citizen and he needs to be released now.’
Francisco’s mother Sanjuana added:
‘I need my son back. I just want to prove to them that he is a citizen. He’s not a criminal or anything bad. He’s a good kid.’
Galicia has been detained since June 27 and told his mother that it was because he didn’t have his U.S. passport on him, although again, competent officers should have been able to ascertain his citizenship thanks to his state ID. Still, he languished for weeks in Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) custody, where he wasn’t even allowed to use a phone. Galan says she presented CBP with documents including Francisco’s birth certificate proving that he is a U.S. citizen, but he not only remained in custody anyway but has since been transferred to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) custody, which Francisco’s family fears could be a step towards deportation. Marlon already agreed to voluntary deportation and is currently staying in Mexico with his grandmother. Galan shares that she has already faxed over all of the documents to the ICE agent handling Francisco’s case, as those involved await the next step.
Francisco Galan is not the only U.S. citizen to have suffered from border patrol’s incompetence. New York Times reporter Kendra Pierre-Louis shares that between “2012 and 2017 ICE detained 1480 US citizens for up to three years.”
These issues are running alongside those surrounding the agencies’ treatment of detained individuals from other countries. They have placed asylum seekers in dangerous, essentially standing-room only conditions for up to weeks at a time, and there’s been extremely limited access to items as simple as running water. More than half a dozen children have died after being taken into custody under the Trump regime, and numerous adults have as well.
The Trump administration has claimed that they could do better if only they had more money, but a supposed lack of funds isn’t keeping them from acting with basic human dignity towards detained individuals, who some agents have incessantly harassed. All the while, Trump keeps rallying his base around his immigration enforcement efforts.
Featured Image via screenshot