HOUSTON – An 18-year-old American was released from immigration detention on Tuesday after being illegally imprisoned for more than three weeks.  Francisco Erwin Galicia left an American immigration and customs detention center in Pearsall, Texas on Tuesday, and his attorney Claudia Galan confirmed that he had been released less than a day after the Dallas Morning News reported his case.  Story continues below.
ICE did not comment immediately, not even US Customs and Border Guard monitoring the border patrol that arrested Galicia for the first time.
Galicia lives in the border town of Edinburgh. Texas, and traveled north with a group of friends on June 27, when they were stopped at a border checkpoint in the interior. According to Galan and the Morning News, agents arrested Galicia on suspicion of illegally staying in the United States despite having a Texas state passport.
Galicia was held by the Border Patrol for three weeks and then taken to ICE Detention Center
Galan said she believed that Galicia was "absolutely" a victim of racial profiles. The others in the vehicle with him were all Latinos, including his 17-year-old brother Marlon, who was born in Mexico and was illegally in the United States. Marlon told the Morning News that he had agreed to return to Mexico.
"I'm so thankful that Francisco is free and can sleep at home tonight and see his mother," she said.
The Border Police arrest people who enter the US illegally, both located directly on the US-Mexico border and with their line of highway checkpoints miles from the border. In most cases, agents take a look at the drivers passing through the checkpoints and let them pass quickly. It is not usually required that a passport or proof of citizenship pass a checkpoint inland.
Galicia was arrested by the border patrol well beyond the 72 hours of which CBP says it should hold inmates. In the Rio Grande Valley in southern Texas, where Galicia was arrested, the border police arrest hundreds of adult men and women accused of illegally entering the country for more than 72 hours. In McAllen, Texas, adult men are being held in fenced stables. Vice President Mike Pence visited these pens this month, and reports and videos about the conditions there have sparked outrage. At this point, he was able to make group calls to his mother. Galan drove to the Pearsall Detention Center Tuesday to seek his release.
The immigration authorities should not detain US citizens. But both ICE and CBP have arrested citizens in the past.
A Los Angeles Times study from 2018 found that ICE released more than 1,480 people after investigating their citizenship status. In one case, a US citizen was in immigration detention for more than three years.
Last week, a California congressman visiting the Border Patrol processing center in McAllen met a 13-year-old girl with a US passport. The girl was waiting with her mother, who had allegedly crossed the border illegally. After thorough investigation, the Border Patrol released both.
Galicia's case is due to protests from Democrats and US interest groups.
In Kansas City, officials hit a car window and pulled a Mexican out the vehicle in front of his girlfriend and two young children. The woman transferred the arrest on Facebook.
In Nashville, neighbors surrounded an ICE van after it blocked the entrance of a Tennessee man to be arrested. The agent gave up trying to arrest the man after four hours. Sign up for POLITICO Playbook and receive the latest news every morning – in your inbox.