In a story that's sparked outrage — including from one of the leaders of the #AbolishICE contingent of the Democratic Party, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (NY) — a young man who appears to be a U.S. citizen was detained for three weeks by Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) after crossing the border with his younger brother, who is a Mexican citizen. But as more details have emerged, the reason CBP has delayed in releasing the young man has begun to make a lot more sense.
In a story promoted by Ocasio-Cortez, among others, a young man who appears to have been born in Dallas, Texas was picked up by Border Patrol and detained for over three weeks. The incident, said Ocasio-Cortez, proves that "CBP is detaining *American citizens.*"
The Dallas Morning News article tweeted out by Ocasio-Cortez reports that Francisco Erwin Galicia, an 18-year-old whose birth certificate says he was born in Dallas, has been in CBP custody for more than three weeks after being detained at a border patrol checkpoint on June 27 along with his younger brother, who is a Mexican citizen, and a group of friends. The group was stopped because Marlon is a Mexican citizen.
"Galicia was traveling with his 17-year-old brother Marlon Galicia and a group of friends from Edinburg where they live to Ranger College in North Texas for a soccer scouting event when they came upon a CBP checkpoint, said Sanjuana Galicia, his mother," the Dallas Morning News reports. When the young men were asked for IDs, Francisco only had his Texas ID. Though a Texas ID requires a social security number to obtain, CBP detained Francisco along with his Mexican citizen brother.
The Dallas Morning News reviewed a copy of Francisco's birth certificate, which says he was born at Parkland Memorial Hospital in Dallas on December. 24, 2000. Galicia's attorney, Claudia Galan, says she presented CBP with the document along with others affirming his citizenship, but "they ignored them."
While the story of a U.S. citizen being detained for over three weeks has rightly prompted outrage, it turns out that the there's more to the story.
The Washington Post has since done some more digging and uncovered details about the case which help explain why CBP has delayed in releasing the young man: Francisco's mother, a Mexican citizen living in Edinburg illegally, listed her son on a U.S. tourist visa as being born in Mexico. She also falsified information on his birth certificate.
"The reason it appears to have taken CBP and ICE so long to determine Galicia’s citizenship is because his mother, who is not a citizen, took out a U.S. tourist visa in his name while he was still a minor, falsely saying he was born in Mexico, Galan said," the Post reports. "His mother, Sanjuana, told The Post that CBP discovered the visa after fingerprinting her son. The conflicting documents only fueled the agency’s suspicion that Galicia’s U.S. documents were fake, Galan said."
Sanjuana told the Post that she took out the falsified tourist visa for her son so he could travel back and forth across the border to visit family. The reason she couldn't get him a passport, she explained, is that she entered a fictitious name for herself on his birth certificate. "The undocumented mother was unable to get him a U.S. passport because when Galicia was born, Galan said, she gave a different name for herself on his birth certificate," the Post reports.
The family's attorney says she is working with authorities to get the young man released, but he has been afraid to sign the necessary paperwork, fearing "they’re going to trick him into signing a removal order and that he’ll end up getting deported."