South Texas congressman demands information on detained U.S. teen

Immigration

FILE – This Feb. 10, 2009 file photo shows the South Texas Detention Center is seen in Pearsall, Texas. An 18-year-old who was born in the U.S. has been released from immigration custody after wrongfully being detained for more than three weeks. Francisco Erwin Galicia left a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement detention center in Pearsall, Texas, on Tuesday, July 23, 2019. (AP Photo/Eric Gay, File)

EDINBURG, Texas (Border Report) — U.S. Rep. Vicente Gonzalez, D-Texas, sent a letter along with 24 other representatives demanding information from Customs and Border Protection on the detention and treatment of Francisco Erwin Galicia, an 18-year-old U.S. citizen who spent nearly a month in custody after being detained at a Border Patrol checkpoint in Texas in June.

“It has long been a concern that our fellow citizens may be targeted by checkpoint personnel, and the facts and circumstances regarding the detention of Francisco Erwin Galicia-Chapa have substantiated these fears,” the letter sent Aug. 5 to CBP Acting Commissioner Mark Morgan stated.

Border Report has reached out to CBP and will update this story with its response.

“When reporting to Congress about this case, Brian Hastings, Chief of Law Enforcement at the U.S. Border Patrol testified that ‘[a]t no time in Border Patrol custody did [Mr. Galicia-Chapa] say that he was a U.S. citizen.’ We know this is not the case, not only based on the word of the young man wrongfully detained, but also because the charging documents subscribed to by Acting Patrol Agent In Charge Sherman Kemp, signed June 29, 2019 indicate otherwise,” the letter said.

U.S. Rep. Vicente Gonzalez, D-Texas (Courtesy Photo).

The letter, which was also signed by Texas Democratic Reps. Joaquin Castro, Filemon Vela, Sylvia R. Garcia and Marc Veasey, and 21 other representatives, also demanded to know what forms of identification are required at checkpoints and whether it is consistent and standard throughout the Southwest border.

“Detaining lawful U.S. citizens at border checkpoints is not immigration enforcement,” Gonzalez said in a press release. “Francisco Erwin Galicia-Chapa and his family must now bear the mental and physical scars of something that never should have happened. We send this letter on their behalf expecting forthright and honest answers so that we may prevent this from happening again.”

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