Brian Hastings, chief of Law Enforcement at the U.S. Border Patrol, said at a House Judiciary Committee hearing that 18-year-old Francisco Erwin Galicia, who was held in Border Patrol custody for 23 days, “claimed to be a Mexican national who was born in Reynosa, Mexico,” when he was stopped at a checkpoint 100 miles north of the border.
“Throughout the process, and while he was with Border Patrol, he claimed to be a citizen of Mexico with no immigration documents to be in or remain in the U.S.,” Mr. Hastings told Congress.
“Upon further investigation, we also found that he had a border crossing card and that border crossing card he had used 53 times to cross the border into the U.S., which gives us further indication that he was not a U.S. citizen. At no time in Border Patrol custody did he say that he was a U.S. citizen,” he added.
However, Mr. Galicia’s attorney, Claudia Galan, gave Dallas News an immigration court notice to appear given to the teenager that reads: “You falsely represented yourself to be a citizen of the United States for the purpose of furthering your entry into the United States.”
Ms. Galan said Mr. Galicia stated he was a U.S. citizen from the moment he was detained and, while he did have a visitor’s visa on him from when he lived in Mexico, he also had a Texas ID, wallet birth certificate and his Social Security card on him.
“[Hastings‘] statement is incorrect,” Ms. Galan said. “At the moment he was stopped, he showed them his documents, and he kept saying he was a U.S. citizen.”
Mr. Galicia was held in a detainment facility for more than three weeks but was freed Tuesday, less than a day after the news reports by Dallas News began to circle.
He describes horrendous conditions of being kept in a cage with 60 other men, sleeping on the floor and getting a wet wipe to clean himself ever four days instead of a shower
Mr. Galicia said he received so little food he lost 26 pounds and considered self-deporting despite being a citizen.
“It was inhumane how they treated us. It got to the point where I was ready to sign a deportation paper just to not be suffering there anymore. I just needed to get out of there,” he said, the Dallas News
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