Things That Matter

This US Citizen Was Just Released From ICE Custody Where He Was Detained For More Than Three Weeks And Like How Is This Happening?

An American teenager who was detained by U.S. immigration authorities for almost a month, despite being a citizen, was finally released on Tuesday. Francisco Erwin Galicia, 18, who was born in Dallas, Texas, spent 23 days in the custody of U.S. Customs and Border Protection in conditions that he called “inhumane”. Galicia says he lost over 25 pounds during his time in a Texas immigrant detention center because officers there didn’t give him enough food. The conditions were so bad he reportedly almost opted to self-deport himself. 

So how did a legal U.S. citizen get detained by border officials and for this long?

Credit: @Qasimrashid / Twitter

Francisco had been traveling with a group of friends and his 17-year-old brother Marlon, who was born in Mexico and does not have legal status, from Southern Texas to Ranger College for a soccer event back on June 27th. That afternoon, the group came across a border patrol checkpoint where they were asked for documentation.

Marlon said he had passed through previous checkpoints without having to present paperwork but immigration agents handled things stricter this time around. While Marlon only had his had his school ID, Francisco had a Texas ID, a Social Security card, and his birth certificate. But that still wasn’t enough. 

According to CBS News, Francisco was detained because he did not have his passport and CBP agents suspected that his documents were forged. After collecting his fingerprints, they found out that Francisco had a U.S. tourist visa in his name that read that his birthplace was in Mexico. 

“They thought they were fake,” Francisco told ABC Dallas affiliate WFAA in an interview Tuesday. “I had all my papers, but they still didn’t believe me. I don’t know the reason why.”

His mother Sanjuana, who is an undocumented citizen, had gotten him the visa while he was still a minor and falsely listed his birthplace because she thought it was the only way he could travel to Mexico to visit family.

The brothers would eventually get separated and Francisco would be sent to a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement detention center. 

Credit: @weau13news / Twitter

Marlon would sign a voluntary deportation form after two days in detention and would be placed with his grandmother in Mexico. But his brother would stay under CBP custody for three more weeks where he would endure harsh conditions. Despite Francisco’s lawyer, Claudia Galan, bringing the necessary documentation, including his birth certificate, to border officials, he was not released. The reasoning was the conflicting paperwork he originally presented. 

At the detention facility, Francisco was not allowed to make phone calls or even shower. “I told them we had rights and asked to make a phone call. But they told us, ‘You don’t have rights to anything’,” Francisco Galicia told the Dallas News.

Things would only get worse from there for Francisco.

Credit: @marshallproject / Twitter

Francisco described to the Dallas News about the conditions in CBP detention and how bad things got during his more than three week stay there. He says he heard about the tough conditions on TV but was completely different to go through it himself. 

“It’s one thing to see these conditions on TV and in the news. It’s another to go through them,” Galicia said.

He says he was crammed into an overcrowded holding area with 60 other men and all had to sleep on the floor and were given only aluminum-foil blankets as cover. Some men even slept on the bathroom floor. They were also bitten by ticks and many got sick throughout his stay. He said that many of the men were too afraid to ask officers to see a doctor because they said they had been told their stay would “start over” if they did.

After a total of 23 days in detention in CBP and Immigration and Customs Enforcement facilities, Francisco was finally released this past Tuesday. Now, many are looking for answers not only about his detention but the horrid conditions the 18-year-old described.

Credit: @lauraswift79 / Twitter

CBP and ICE officials have yet to respond to Galicia’s claims of poor conditions at the holding facility but did issue a joint statement Wednesday about detaining him. 

“Generally, situations including conflicting reports from the individual and multiple birth certificates can, and should, take more time to verify,” the statement read. “While we continue to research the facts of the situation, this 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.”

Many on social media were angry to find out the conditions in the detention facilities. One user on Twitter questioned how this could happen, especially to a legal U.S. citizen. 

“This is heartbreaking & ridiculous!  How can we treat other human beings this way & be okay with it?!?!?!  Makes me sick to my stomach.  #humanityFirst  Francisco Erwin Galicia says he wasn’t allowed to shower for 23 days in ICE custody.”

Despite all this, Francisco’s mother said she’s just glad to have her son back home with his family. 

“I’m just so thankful to God and to everyone who spoke up about my son’s situation. she said. “I’m glad to have him back home, but I need my other son back.”

READ: An Autopsy Reveals Harrowing New Details About A Guatemalan Teen Who Died In Border Patrol Custody

Notice any needed corrections? Please email us at corrections@wearemitu.com

ICE Admits It Made A Mistake In Deporting This Guatemalan Man So Why Hasn’t He Been Brought Back?

Things That Matter

ICE Admits It Made A Mistake In Deporting This Guatemalan Man So Why Hasn’t He Been Brought Back?

Although the Coronavirus pandemic poses special risks to migrants who are returned to their countries – as well as the communities they’re put back into – U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) continues to deport migrants by the thousands.

There have been several reports of deportees spreading Covid-19 back in their communities after being removed from the U.S., which makes sense considering the U.S. is leading the world in Covid-19 infections.

However, ICE has admitted that they made a mistake with one recent deportation, when they removed a man who was legally awaiting his asylum process.

A Guatemalan man was wrongfully deported and ICE admits it was their mistake.

A 29-year-old Guatemalan man seeking asylum in the U.S. was mistakenly deported by authorities despite the lack of a deportation order – and worse, before he even had his first appointment in immigration court.

César Marroquín was deported August 19 – the same day he he was supposed to appear for the first time before an immigration judge. Instead, he was sent back to Guatemala – with dozens of other deportees – the country from which he fled after being the victim of aggression and kidnapping, according to his account.

“They told me that if I didn’t get on the plane, I’d be charged,” Marroquín told Noticias Telemundo. “There was some mistake with me in the system.”

His current attorney, Marty Rosenbluth, believes it is a flagrant error. “I’ve seen quite a few cases of people who were deported in error. I’ve never seen one quite like this where they were deported even before their first hearing, “ he told NBC News.

The Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, or ICE, said in a statement that Marroquín’s deportation was due to an “administrative error” while his case was still open.

Despite their mistake, Marroquín remains in Guatemala.

Although the mistake lay completely with U.S. ICE agents, Marroquín remains in his native Guatemala at risk of further persecution.

According to Marroquín’s official complaint filed in Guatemala, he said he suffered political persecution and physical violence after he supported a local politician and turned down a request to work with a rival one. After that, he said he was threatened and his home was damaged and raided; he also suspects someone tampered with his car. Marroquín said he was then kidnapped at gunpoint, tortured for several days and then left on the side of the road. He decided to leave the country after that and sought asylum protections in the United States.

The authorities and Marroquín’s attorney are now working on his readmission to the United States.

“This type of gross negligence is completely inexcusable,” said Rosenbluth, his current attorney. “The law is very, very clear that they can’t deport someone in the middle of their immigration court proceedings. They’re just not allowed to do it.”

Of course, not surprisingly, this isn’t the first time the immigration agency has made a mistake in deportations.

In 2018, ICE made a similar mistake with an undocumented inmate at a New Hampshire jail. ICE agents violated an appeals court order and deported the man back to El Salvador, where he lost 60 pounds and was subject to starvation, beatings, and overcrowding, according to the American Civil Liberties Union-New Hampshire, which represents the man.

“This is a very serious matter to us,” said Scott Grant Stewart, a deputy assistant U.S. attorney general, who appeared before a three-judge panel to explain the error. “We’re sorry for the violation of the court’s order. This was inadvertent. We do acknowledge the error.”

In fact, there are thousands of documented cases of U.S. citizens being deported by ICE.

According to a Northwestern University political scientist, Jacqueline Stevens, more than 1,500 U.S. citizens have spent time in immigration detention or even been deported between 2007 and 2015. More recent examples abound of the U.S. government detaining citizens after falsely accusing them of breaking immigration laws.

ICE authorities reportedly detained for three days Jilmar Ramos-Gomez, a veteran born in Grand Rapids, Michigan who served with the Marines in Afghanistan, in 2018 because the agency did not believe he was born here.

ICE also detained for more than three weeks a man named Peter Brown who was born in Philadelphia and lived in the Florida Keys in 2018 because the agency confused him with an undocumented Jamaican immigrant – who was also named Peter Brown.

In 2007, the government settled a lawsuit arising from ICE’s detention of 6-year-old Kebin Reyes. ICE detained the California-born child for 10 hours when it picked up his undocumented father, even though his father immediately handed the authorities Reyes’ U.S. passport to prove the boy’s citizenship. And Justice Department records obtained by the Los Angeles Times indicate that a 10-year-old boy from San Francisco was mistakenly held in immigration detention in Texas for two months, according to his lawyer.

Notice any needed corrections? Please email us at corrections@wearemitu.com

ICE Is Launching A New Round Of Raids To Boost Trump’s ‘Law And Order’ Campaign

Things That Matter

ICE Is Launching A New Round Of Raids To Boost Trump’s ‘Law And Order’ Campaign

Despite a growing number of immense challenges across the country, the Trump administration is planning a major offensive against the migrant community. Although he’s in the hospital battling the Coronavirus, Trump’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency is working to instill fear in the undocumented community with a new round of immigration raids.

The new operation is set to launch this week and will specifically target sanctuary cities and counties to help support Trump’s campaign talk of ‘law & order.’

Already, the nation’s immigrant communities – particularly the Latinx community – are reeling from increased risk of Coronavirus infection to higher rates of unemployment. Now, the community is being forced to consider their next steps as ICE agents roll into major cities across the country to step up enforcement actions.

ICE is launching a new round of immigration raids just weeks before the election.

In what is an obvious attempt to cast himself as the ‘law & order’ president, Trump’s ICE agency is planning a large scale immigration campaign beginning this week. The new campaign will target arrests in U.S. cities and jurisdictions that have adopted “sanctuary” policies, according to three U.S. officials, who spoke to the Washington Post.

The operation, known informally as the “sanctuary op,” will likely launch in California before expanding to other cities, including Denver and Philadelphia. Chad Wolf, acting secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, probably will travel to at least one of the cities where the operation will take place to boost President Trump’s claims that leaders in those cities have failed to protect residents from dangerous criminals, two officials told The Post.

Two officials told The Post anonymously that the operation is more about getting a political message across than a major operation by ICE, stressing that the agency is already working hard to combat violators of immigration policy daily, often without much publicity.

Trump hopes to target sanctuary cities to send the message that Democrats are weak on crime.

The Trump Administration has made no secret of its contempt for cities and other jurisdictions that have enacted so-called sanctuary policies. In fact, ICE has repeatedly threatened cities and counties with such policies with increased enforcement actions, saying they’ll send more agents to make arrests in their jurisdictions if they continue advocating such policies.

Cities that normally operate with sanctuary policies usually refuse to hold immigrants in jail longer than they are required so that ICE officers can take them into custody. Although ICE agents are still able to pick up people suspected of immigration violations, they do so without the help of local law enforcement such as a coordinated handover. It means that ICE agents usually have a much harder time picking up wanted people in cities which do not officially cooperate with the agency.

“Generally speaking, as ICE has noted for years, in jurisdictions where cooperation does not exist and ICE is not allowed to assume custody of aliens from jails, ICE is forced to arrest at-large criminal aliens out in the communities instead of under the safe confines of a jail,’ said Mike Alvarez, an ICE spokesman.

ICE has long floated possible campaigns meant to capture as many migrants as possible.

The idea for a campaign publicizing criminal arrests in sanctuary cities has been floated repeatedly during the Trump administration, two officials said, and was under consideration actively this spring before the Coronavirus pandemic. After the outbreak, ICE deferred some of its enforcement plans, citing health risks, and during that time, the agency’s arrests dropped by about one-third, statistics show.

Just last year, the White House had pushed for a “family op”, with the intent of targeting migrant parents with children. However, the operation failed to gain the number of arrests that Trump had wanted so it was scrapped. The president tipped off that operation, announcing it in a tweet. Some ICE officials privately attributed the operation’s underwhelming results to Trump’s boasting and indiscipline.

Another such plan – meant to punish sanctuary cities – was to bus asylum-seeking migrants from the border and drop them off in San Francisco, a city with a sanctuary policy. It was met with widespread ridicule.

However, operations such as these do have profound impacts on migrant communities. As news of enforcement operations such as these spread, many immigrants go deeper underground, living in fear that they may be arrested and deported while their children – often times U.S. citizens – will be left behind.

Notice any needed corrections? Please email us at corrections@wearemitu.com