A California member of Congress is asking the head of U.S. Border Patrol to clarify contradictory information about the citizenship of an American man held for more than three weeks by immigration officers, the Dallas Morning News reported.
Brian Hastings, chief of law enforcement for the Border Patrol, told Congress last week that 18-year-old Francisco Erwin Galicia didn’t tell border agents who detained him at a checkpoint in Falfurrias that he was a U.S. citizen.
“Throughout the process, and while he was with Border Patrol, he claimed to be a citizen of Mexico with no immigration documents to be in or remain in the U.S,” Hastings told the House Judiciary Committee.
Claudia Galan, an attorney representing Galicia, gave the Morning News a copy of her client’s notice to appear in court, in which the Department of Homeland Security accused Galicia of falsely claiming to border agents he is an American citizen so he could gain entry into the country.
In a letter given to the Morning News this week, U.S. Rep. Ted Lieu, D-Calif., asked Hastings to explain the discrepancy between his comments and the court notice. Those “can’t both be true,” Lieu wrote, asking Hastings to respond by Aug. 5.
Lieu also asked the border patrol chief to explain why Galicia’s citizenship claims weren’t verified during the more than three weeks he was held.
Galicia was detained by agents on June 27. The newspaper reported that Galicia said he told agents he was a U.S. citizen and presented them with his Texas ID, a Social Security card and a birth certificate, but that the officers doubted their validity. Galicia was detained with his younger brother Marlon Galicia and a friend, both of whom lacked legal status, the Morning News reported.