Francisco Erwin Galicia, an 18-year-old American citizen, on Wednesday described "inhumane" conditions he said he experienced while being held in immigration agency detention for 23 days.
“It was inhumane, how they treated us," Galicia told The Dallas Morning News in an interview. "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."
Galicia said he lost 26 pounds because Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents did not give him enough food.
The Dallas-born teen described being crammed into an overcrowded holding area with 60 other men, where they slept on the floor and were given only aluminum-foil blankets.
Some of the men were very sick but were afraid to ask to go to the doctor because officers told them their stay would start over if they did, Galicia said.
CBP and Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE), who also held Galicia, did not immediately respond to requests for comment on his description of the conditions.
Galicia was detained while traveling to a soccer scouting event with his younger brother, Marlon, who is not a citizen.
When the two brothers reached a CBP checkpoint in Falfurrias, Texas, Marlon only had a school ID card, while Francisco Galicia had his Texas ID, which can only be obtained with a Social Security number.
Francisco Galicia was later transferred to an ICE facility on the belief that his documents were fraudulent, while his brother signed a voluntary deportation form and has been staying in Reynosa, Mexico.
Galicia was released after The Dallas Morning News's original report on his detention.
In a statement to The Hill, ICE and CBP said they are still researching "the facts of the situation," citing "conflicting reports from the individual and multiple birth certificates."
"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.”