Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Asks Americans: 'How Would You Feel Trapped in a Border Camp Where Guards Wear Face Masks Because the Human Odor Is so Strong?'

New York Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has slammed the U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency for "detaining American citizens" after it came to light that a Dallas-born teenager has been held in federal custody for weeks after being stopped at a CBP checkpoint.

"CBP is detaining American citizens," Ocasio-Cortez said in a tweet, sharing a story published by Dallas Morning News on the incident. "How would you feel trapped in a border camp, where guards wear face masks because the human odor is so strong? When we allow the rights of some to be violated, the rights of all are not far behind."

The New York politician's words of warning came as the Trump administration announced that it would be vastly expanding the authority of immigration officers to deport migrants without giving them the chance to appear before a judge.

Immigration advocates have warned that the Trump administration's fast-track deportations plan could see many put in the same position as Francisco Erwin Galicia, who despite being a U.S. citizen has been detained by federal immigration authorities for weeks after being stopped at a CBP checkpoint in Falfurrias on June 27.

Francisco had been 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 reached a CBP checkpoint, the teenager's mother Sanjuana Galicia, told Dallas Morning News.

Francisco had his Texas ID, which can only be obtained with a Social Security number, but Marlon only had his school ID on him, the outlet reported.

Marlon signed a voluntary deportation form in order to be released and spoke to the outlet from Reynosa, Mexico, where he was staying with his grandmother after the incident.

"We were confident that we'd be able to pass. We were going to do something good for our futures," he said. "I didn't imagine this could happen and now I'm so sad that I'm not with my family."

His older brother, Francisco, was still waiting to be released when the news outlet spoke with the family.

"I signed because I wanted to talk with my mom," Marlon said. "Now, we just have to wait and see and hope that they release my brother."

The teens' mother told Dallas Morning News that Francisco was being detained because he did not have his U.S. passport, even though he did show CBP agents his Texas ID.

She said her son was not able to use a phone during his first three weeks detained in CBP custody, but has since been able to make calls after being transferred into Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) custody.

An attorney for the teenager, Claudia Galan, said she met with CBP officers last week to present them with her son's birth certificate and other documents, but was still unsuccessful in securing his release. With the 18-year-old now in ICE custody, she said she has faxed over the same documents to the agent handling his case.

"He's going on a full month of being wrongfully detained. He's a U.S. citizen and he needs to be released now," she said.

AOC
U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), speaks during a press conference at the U.S. Capitol on July 15, 2019 in Washington, D.C. Ocasio-Cortez has slammed the U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency after hearing the story of a teenage U.S. citizen detained by the agency. Alex Wroblewski/Getty