Why was American detained?

Gina Ferazzi/Los Angeles Times/Tribune News Service

The following editorial appeared in the Dallas Morning News on July 29:

DALLAS (Tribune News Service) — Why did federal officials detain an American citizen from Dallas 70 miles from the border on the belief he might have crossed into the country illegally?

It sounds like a bad riddle, but it’s unfortunately a reality that lasted for weeks.

All evidence points to Dallas as the birthplace of Francisco Erwin Galicia, who was detained at a Customs and Border Protection checkpoint in Falfurrias on June 27 on the way to a soccer scouting event. His mother produced his birth certificate, Social Security card and state ID, but he still remained in custody for three weeks.

With a porous border and a system of ill-enforced court dates, we hear about migrants slipping through the cracks all the time. Is ICE detaining American citizens more capably than it can stop border crossings or keep track of migrants?

Galicia’s mother presented ample proof of his citizenship. Galicia’s brother, an actual foreign national, self-deported to Reynosa, Mexico, after two days in detention. Galicia himself poses no clear threat to the nation he has called home since he was born at Parkland Hospital 18 years ago.

Law enforcement officials did not act wholly without reason when they first detained the family. Others in the car, including Galicia’s brother, did not have proper identification. Galicia’s mother also falsely claimed he was born in Mexico while filing for a U.S. tourist visa years ago, according to their lawyer.

But in the face of overwhelming citizenship evidence, a single paperwork error should not have kept Galicia in detention for nearly a month, especially when his brother was processed so much more quickly. ICE has bigger things on its plate, including actual immigrants in the country illegally.

This gaffe weakens American faith in law enforcement at the border and plays right into the hands of politicians pushing for less security.

Surely ICE has easier cases to close. Falfurrias sits inside the Rio Grande Valley Border Patrol Sector, one of the heaviest areas of migrant and narcotic trafficking in the state. We should be looking for 18-wheelers full of trafficking victims and bags of coke duct-taped to wheel wells, not teenagers from Dallas.

We are glad that ICE did free this American. But we hope this isn’t the end of the incident. Federal officials now need to sort through their processes and dig into what led to this long detention stay. An agency that holds onto an American citizen this long needs to revise its approach and in a hurry. Americans deserve better from our immigration officials.

Visit the Dallas Morning News at www.dallasnews.com. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency. © 2019 Dallas Morning News.

Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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(3) comments

Holmes

The "Fed" has found out. Come on Times, as is usually the case, there is much more to the story, and a USBP official provided those details during congressional testimony this week. Confirming the "Fed" already knows the situation. Brian Hastings, Chief of Law Enforcement at the U.S. Border Patrol, told a House committee that the reason why the citizen was kept in detention for so long was that he told agents he was Mexican. “I can give you some preliminary. The individual came through the Falfurrias checkpoint. He came through with the other illegal aliens. The individual claimed to be a Mexican national who was born in Reynosa, Mexico,” Hastings said. “Upon further investigation, we also found 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,” Hastings continued. But of course, facts don’t matter to most Democrats.

rdsouth

The solution is more courts and speedy hearings, possibly with appointed counsel for all. But the administration doesn't want a solution in line with the letter and intent of the law, it wants to circumvent the law to push an agenda that never came from the democratic process. After all, law and democracy are government and government, and government is the problem. Crime is the answer, especially crime in the name of government. Because, after all, "we the people" and "e pluribus unum" are "collectivism" and Alisa Zinovyevna Rosenbaum doesn't like it.

Holmes -- the real one

Well said, rdsouth. Pretty much sums it up.

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