Francisco Erwin Galicia, who was born in Dallas and lives with his family in Edinburg, plans to file a lawsuit against the U.S. government after he was wrongfully detained for three weeks.
Galicia said that he was driving with his brother and some friends on June 27 when they were stopped by U.S. Border Patrol in Falfurrias. He said federal agents separated him from his brother, who was born in Mexico but living undocumented in the United States.
Even though Galicia showed his driver’s license, U.S. Social Security card, and a copy of his birth certificate, Border Patrol still detained him for three weeks.
“They thought they were fake,” he said. “I had all my papers, but they still didn’t believe me. I don’t know the reason why.”
Galicia’s mother eventually contacted Texas-based immigration attorney, Claudia Galan, for assistance. Galan said she took Galicia’s birth certificate and other documents to the facility where he was being housed. She wasn’t able to get him released until she notified the press.
Galicia was finally released from custody on Tuesday.
Galicia said that the living conditions were terrible in the detention center.
“There were up to 70 people in a room,” he said. “They wouldn’t let us brush our teeth or go to the bathroom. There were people who were very sick inside, and it’s really inhumane the way we were treated.”
Galan said Galicia was profiled and that she plans to file a lawsuit on his behalf in the next couple of weeks.
“Francisco’s English is not good. So they probably thought, if he was a U.S. citizen he should be able to speak English,” Galan said. “They also probably thought that because he’s with other undocumented immigrants that he was one too.”
“Their job is to deport people. Their practice is to be tough,” Galan added. “But they should have looked into his claim from day one. They had the documents.”