Francisco Erwin Galicia and his attorney, Claudia Galan. (Image source: WFAA-TV video screenshot)
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'I was ready to sign a deportation paper'
UPDATE, 7/25 at 9:45 p.m. CST: Brian Hastings, the Chief of Law Enforcement at the U.S. Border Patrol, testified before the House Judiciary Committee on Thursday that Francisco Erwin Galicia claimed to be a Mexican national when he was stopped at the Customs and Border Protection checkpoint in Falfurrias.
However, the Department of Homeland Security accused Galicia of falsely claiming to be a citizen, according to a notice to appear in immigration court obtained by The Dallas Morning News. Galicia also reportedly presented his birth certificate showing birth in Dallas to CBP and ICE.
A Texas resident and U.S. citizen who was held in immigration detention for more than three weeks told The Dallas Morning News that the conditions in which he and others were being held were "inhumane."
Galicia was reportedly first held at the Customs and Border Protection checkpoint in Falfurrias, Texas, and later at the South Texas Detention Complex in Pearsall.
"It was inhumane how they treated us," Galicia told DMN. "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."
Galicia said he lost about 26 pounds during his detention because he wasn't given enough food, and said he was not allowed to shower. He also said he was held in a crowded area with 60 other men who were all forced to sleep on the floor, and some of whom he said were very sick.
CBP declined to specifically address Galicia's claims about detention facility conditions when contacted by TheBlaze on Thursday. The two agencies issued the following statement to TheBlaze about the situation:
"This individual provided conflicting reports regarding status of citizenship after being apprehended by U.S. Border Patrol and transferred into Immigration and Customs Enforcement Custody. Situations including conflicting reports from the individual and multiple birth certificates can, and should, take more time to verify. While we continue to research the facts of the situation, the individual has been released from ICE custody. Both CBP and ICE are committed to the fair treatment of migrants in our custody and continue to take appropriate steps to verify all facts of this situation."
Galicia, 18, was stopped at the CBP checkpoint in Falfurrias, Texas, on June 27 as he, his brother, and some friends drove from Edinburg in South Texas to a soccer scouting event at Ranger College in north Texas.
Galicia was born in Dallas. His brother, Marlon, was in the country illegally and voluntarily deported a few days into his detention. At least one of the friends in the car was also detained.
When Galicia was stopped, he had his Texas state ID, a wallet copy of his birth certificate, and his Social Security card on him. Authorities doubted the validity of the documents and detained him anyway, possibly due to the fact that his mother, an illegal immigrant still living in Texas, used a fraudulent visitor's visa to get Galicia back into the U.S. when he was a baby, and claimed he had been born in Mexico.
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