tags: , , , AVEF, Press Releases

Reminder That American Citizens At Risk Under Trump’s New Fast-Track Deportation Program

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Yesterday’s announcement that the Trump administration is expanding “expedited removals” nationwide, enabling them to fast track deportations without judges, hearings or any shred of accountability or due process, is a disturbing escalation of the Trump deportation agenda.

As Pili Tobar, Deputy Director of America’s Voice noted yesterday, “Picture this: using whatever pretext they want, ICE detains an individual. Unless that person is carrying on them right now evidence of their citizenship, legal status in this country, or documentation that they have been continuously in the U.S. for more than two years, they could be on a plane out of the country … it’s impossible to imagine that U.S. citizens won’t be caught up in the potential or that racial profiling won’t be central to its implementation.” 

Today, Tobar added: “Unfortunately, today brings even more reminders why every American citizen should fear being caught up in the fast track deportation dragnet President Trump is unleashing. This is more than just an abstract notion. Unchecked detentions by a quasi-police force reveals unchecked government intrusion into the rights of every American. Even before the implementation of an expanded, fast track removal effort, American citizens are already being targeted by CBP and ICE agents under Trump. The risk will be even higher under expedited removal because there will be no hearings, no judges, no appeal and no oversight.”  

In a new story titled, “A Dallas-born citizen picked up by the Border Patrol has been detained for three weeks,” Obed Manuel of the Dallas News tells the disturbing story of Francisco Erwin Galicia: 

An 18-year-old Dallas-born U.S. citizen has been in the custody of U.S. Customs and Border Protection and Immigration and Customs Enforcement for more than three weeks … Now his family fears he may be deported.

…Galicia was traveling with his 17-year-old brother Marlon Galicia and a group of friends from Edinburg where they live to Ranger College in North Texas for a soccer scouting event when they came upon a CBP checkpoint  … [his attorney, Claudia] Galan said she met with CBP officers last week and presented them with Galicia’s birth certificate and some other documents but was unsuccessful in getting him released. She plans on presenting the same documents to ICE officers later this week. 

‘I presented then with his original birth certificate and other documents and they ignored them. So now I’ve faxed over all the documents to the ICE agent handling the case,’ Galan said. ‘He’s going on a full month of being wrongfully detained. He’s a U.S. citizen and he needs to be released now.’

Galicia’s case is far from an isolated incident. In April 2018, Paige St. John and Joel Rubin of the Los Angeles Times noted, “Since 2012, ICE has released from its custody more than 1,480 people after investigating their citizenship claims, according to agency figures. And a Times review of Department of Justice records and interviews with immigration attorneys uncovered hundreds of additional cases in the country’s immigration courts in which people were forced to prove they are Americans and sometimes spent months or even years in detention.”

Below are other recent and relevant reports of U.S. citizens being detained or deported – stories that are likely to become all-the-more frequent if Trump’s expedited removals program is implemented nationwide:

  • Just last week, Rep. Nanette Barragán (D-CA) reported encountering a 13-year old U.S. citizen girl being held in custody at the Ursula Detention Facility in McAllen, TX.
  • Also last week, Elvia Malagón of the Chicago Tribune reported, “Three children who are U.S. citizens were held by border protection officers for several hours at O’Hare International Airport Thursday after arriving from Mexico with a relative, prompting a U.S. congresswoman [Rep. Jan Schakowsky], Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot and the Mexican Consulate in Chicago to intervene and immigration activists to protest.”
  • In January 2019, Hamed Aleaziz of Buzzfeed wrote that, “A US-born Marine veteran who served in Afghanistan had his US passport, a REAL ID driver’s license, a military ID card, and his US Marine Corps dog tags with him when he was arrested by police in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and turned over to Immigration and Customs Enforcement, which held him for three days before his lawyer demanded his release, according to the ACLU of Michigan.”
  • Read Isaac Stanley-Becker’s December 2018 Washington Post piece, “Born in Philadelphia, U.S. citizen says he was held for deportation to Jamaica at ICE’s request,” about the harrowing story of Florida resident Peter Sean Brown.