No Shower for 23 Days: U.S. Citizen Says Conditions Were So Bad That He Almost Self-deported

Francisco Erwin Galicia, a Dallas-born U.S. citizen, spent 23 days in the custody of U.S. Customs and Border Protection in conditions that made him so desperate he almost opted to self-deport.Galicia says he lost 26 pounds during that time because officers didn’t provide him with enough food. He wasn’t allowed to shower. His skin was dry and dirty. He and 60 other men were crammed into an overcrowded holding area where they slept on the floor and were given only aluminum-foil blankets. Some men had to sleep on the restroom area floor.Ticks bit some of the men. Some were very sick, Galicia said, but were afraid to ask to go to the doctor because CBP officers told them their stay would start over if they did. “It was inhumane how they treated us. It got to the point where I was ready to sign a deportation paper just to not be suffering there anymore. I just needed to get out of there,” he said. CBP officials have not responded to repeated requests for comment that began on Monday.Galicia spoke to The Dallas Morning News on Wednesday, one day after he was released by federal officials who had earlier refused to acknowledge his citizenship when presented with his birth certificate.For most of the time he was held by federal authorities, he lived under conditions that many asylum-seeking immigrants have reportedly faced over the past year, leading to much public outcry from politicians and public figures. Galicia met people from all over: Nicaraguans, Hondurans, Salvadorans, Colombians. “It’s one thing to see these conditions on TV and in the news. It’s another to go through them,” he said.Galicia was released from Immigration and Customs Enforcement detention center in Pearsall where he’d been since Saturday on Tuesday afternoon, less than 24 hours after The Dallas Morning News broke the story on his detention. Before Saturday, he’d been held for about three weeks at a CBP facility in Falfurrias, where he reported the squalid conditions.Galicia’s ordeal began on June 27 when he and his younger brother Marlon Galicia and three other friends set out for Ranger College in North Texas from Edinburg where the Galicia family lives. They were heading to a soccer scouting event where the brothers, who both play defense for the Johnny Economedes High School soccer team, were hoping to land scholarships.“We’re supposed to graduate from high school next year and we wanted to do something to secure our education,” Francisco Galicia said.  Continue reading...

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