CBP Detains 9-Year-Old US Citizen For 36 Hours, Accuses Her 14-Year-Old Brother Of Sex Trafficking

from the safest-border-ever dept

Today’s example of the government’s ugliness comes to us courtesy of Customs and Border Protection. There’s a crisis at the border if the latest national emergency is to be believed (it isn’t), and the only way to stop it is to ramp up enforcement. If this means tossing a 9-year-old American citizen in the clink, so be it.

A mother and her 9-year-old daughter were separated for 36 hours after the child fell into U.S. Customs and Border Protection custody because agents at the border didn’t believe she was who she claimed to be, a mother says.

This debacle started the way something like this usually does: with US citizens engaged in activity they engage in every day. In this case, mother Thelma Galaxia’s children were being driven from Tijuana to the border crossing in order to attend school in San Ysidro, California. This was the normal state of affairs for her 9-year-old daughter and 14-year-old son.

Traffic was heavy at the crossing so her friend told them to walk across the border to make sure they got to school on time. Both children were questioned by CBP officers. These officers decided 9-year-old Isabel Medina didn’t resemble her passport photo. They accused her of actually being her cousin, Melanie.

That wasn’t enough for the CBP. It also decided to terrorize her 14-year-old brother, Oscar, by accusing him of being a criminal.

Galaxia said officers made Oscar Medina sign a document that said his little sister was his cousin.

“That is not true,” Galaxia said. “She is my daughter. He was told that he would be taken to jail and they were going to charge him for human trafficking and sex trafficking.”

The intimidated 14-year-old signed the document, thus making the CBP officers technically correct in their assumptions. They now had a paper signed by a human trafficker family member stating that Isabel Medina was actually someone other than the person she actually was.

Galaxia’s children might have been detained longer if she hadn’t gone to the press. NBC7 reports the Mexican consulate contacted the station while Galaxia was being interviewed by journalists, saying the children were being released to her. Presumably, the station’s requests for comment from the involved government agencies got the wheels rolling on her daughter’s case. The CBP, meanwhile, has refused to comment on this detention, claiming it’s still in the middle of investigating this incident.

It seems like one of the CBP officers might have tried to contact the children’s parents to straighten this out. But I guess it’s a lot easier to intimidate children into false confessions when there are no other adults around standing up for their rights or contradicting the CBP’s assumptions.

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Comments on “CBP Detains 9-Year-Old US Citizen For 36 Hours, Accuses Her 14-Year-Old Brother Of Sex Trafficking”

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

in defense they are mostly a Victim of politics and incompetence “like most of us these days” before the towers fell in 01 they were not even considered a big part of defense and it was mostly single guys crossing not entire convoys back to back fleeing things plus political pandering here. I can’t say that what’s happening is there fault except when it’s from them specifically so much as unpreparedness and being in the middle of it

That Anonymous Coward (profile) says:

And fuck all will change… because that is how we roll.

It would be nice if we gave up on this whole if we don’t violate our most sacred rules the bad guys will win, ignoring those ‘protecting us’ are much worse than the bad guys.

The war on drugs did nothing useful, except make sure we ignored the pushers inside our own borders getting us hooked on prescription drugs so they could profit.

The war on AIDs was hamstrung by pretending the flu is the same & cutting aid to developing nations if anyone dared mention birth control… despite many women forced into survival sex. Who cares if they die & the epidemic gets worse, we forced our morals onto them. (cut away to every sex scandal involving church leaders & politicians who demanded this).

The war on Wilding only helped prejudice public perception increasing the fear & distrust, helping make sure there was a nice pipeline of bodies to keep private prisons profitable.

We believe lies & fairytales & then contort reality to fit it.
CBP has employed rapists & a serial killer or 2…
We’ve paid billions for background checks on them… like 1% have been completed…
We have children being raped in custody.
We have men deciding that a 14 yr old should be forced to have the baby she is carrying… because his morality says abortion is a huge crime… and even after a Judge told him to stop… hes still doing it.

We feel up little kids at airports.
We embarrass cancer patients.
We do this so we can be safe!
Yet TSA robs us, sells access secure areas to drug dealers & worse. Its always an isolated incident or any other downplaying tactic. And we wonder why TSA agents have no fear of abusing the public, flexing their muscle to make our lives hell b/c we have to respect their authority!

We’re not a supertanker, it isn’t impossible to correct the course, we just need the will to admit we screwed up & took the wrong course but we’re going back to the right course.

Toto Lee says:

Totally biased Techdirt always claims malice not mistake

Pieces like this are why I don’t cut you any slack, PIRATES and CORPORATISTS.

You know that you’re stealing, and you know that your assertions for allowing corporations to operate without regulation, besides your expansive view of Section 230 (in which Msnick explicitly removes the "good faith" requirement), lead directly to a corporate control system that will make Nazi Germany look pleasant.

And no, a few pieces re-writing what’s already out elsewhere does NOT say that you’re FOR regulating and breaking up corporations for the good of The Public. That says only that you want clicks so can put on a slight appearance of anti-corporation.

Toto Lee says:

Re: Re: Re: Totally biased Techdirt with astro-turfer "Gary"!

This "Gary" now uses "Blueballs", which Timothy Geigner, aka "Dark Helmet" started, out of habit, even though the account began in 2015 long after that screen name wasn’t used.

And "Gary" ardently defends the site, confidently predicts that comments will be censored (it was, in about 10 minutes), is bombastic with unique wording, is in IT, and around lawyers just like Geigner.

You’re not fooling anyone, Geigner.

This obvious astro-turfing is accepted only by the also suspect fanboys on Techdirt, weirdest site on teh internets.

Gary (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Totally biased Troll

And "Toto" that is clearly a lie. "Out_Of_The_Blue" is the older nick for these weird postings, I thought that was too long so I shortened it.

"Out_Of_The_Blue" is also frequently used over the past few years regardless. You are just dodging the question.

And you laughible still can’t answer my valid question – If the TD commenting is so bad, who has a better one Mr. Blueballs?

Shufflepants (profile) says:

Re: Re: Totally biased Techdirt always claims malice not mistake

Man, for an automated system, it seems to be reeaaallly good at recognizing and flagging you. It must be some kinda next level AI to consistently recognize your posts and never seem to mistakenly flag anyone else’s posts. Techdirt should sell this technology to Google or something so that they can improve their Content ID system.

Toto Lee says:

Re: Re: Re: Totally biased Techdirt always claims malice not mis

Man, for an automated system, it seems to be reeaaallly good at recognizing and flagging you.

NO, you as usual for fanboys here failed to grasp the first thing of what I wrote, just take off on your usual ad hom.


And laughable because of it.

Anonymous Coward says:


In order to be a mistake, they would have had to have some kind of evidence to link the 14 year old brother to trafficking or a missing children report for the girl. They didn’t.

In order to be a mistake, they would have at least tried to contact their parents to verify their identities and intent. They didn’t.

In order to be a mistake, they would not have FORCED HIM TO SIGN A CONFESSION ADMITTING HIS SISTER WAS HIS COUSIN WHEN SHE WAS, IN FACT, HIS SISTER. You don’t do that by accident. Moron!

Everything else in your statement is off-topic but just proves you have an axe to grind and don’t care how wrong you are as long as you can drag the object of your vengeance through the mud. I pity you.

Now go away.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Mafia thugs. That’s how they are behaving like.

Not true. Mafia thugs at least had to hold themselves to some standard of decency, from the fear that crossing the wrong line might bring the full force of the police down on their heads, or other such consequences.

These people have no fear of consequences, no fear of reprisal. Their bosses run the country, and they’re giving this behaviour their public support. Even if someone wanted to try to hold them accountable, the judicial system is designed to protect them at every turn, and they, their lawyers, and the very prosecutors who should be holding them accountable, all work to make sure that’s the case.

The CBP has no need to adhere to any standard of decency, and they’ve been taking every opportunity to prove that.

Anonymous Coward says:

why is it now more important for any/all USA security forces to be right/get a win/get a conviction than to actually remember and use the constitution? the USA is supposed to be the home of the brave, land of the free but you only have to have a single security officer have a weed up his ass over something, maybe an argument with the wife at breakfast, and everything goes totally pear shaped! what a country it is becoming!

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Because they’re fear junkies essentially. The USA is all about ginning up some imagined fear to ‘justify’ the horrid shit they want to do anyway and make money from it. When Communism collapsed on itself they didn’t rejoice at winning without fighting but were sad because they were proven useless and had to try to find a new justification. It can never be ‘just another crime’ to them when it is inconvenient for something not to exist. Because admitting they are garbage people hurting others for no legitimate reason would hurt too much.

That One Guy (profile) says:

'We in the CBP do not make mistakes, BY DEFINITION.'

So eager to add a notch to the ‘totally real criminals, honest’ tally that rather than admit to having screwed up they forced a kid to lie and sign a ‘confession’ to that extent.

Truly, there is no low they will not sink to.

This time they got caught, however the fact that they were so quick to employ tactics like this would seem to bring into question any other statistics of ‘criminals’ they might employ, as they have demonstrated gross dishonesty and a willingness to do anything in order to pad the numbers.

ARLibertarian (profile) says:

Cross Border for School?

A little off topic, but WHY is a 9 year old American girl, born to (presumably) Mexican parents crossing the border to go to school in the US? Schools are paid for by the local community, and generally, you have to live in the district to attend school.

(I know, doesn’t excuse the jack booted thuggish-ness of the BP)

James T (profile) says:

Re: Cross Border for School?

According to a 2017 NPR article, at least 25,000 people cross the border between Tijuana and San Ysidro on foot every day. Many of those are students, born in the United States but living in Mexico for various reasons. As U.S. citizens, they have a right to a U.S. education, although their families could technically be fined for not attending a school in their district.

San Ysidro reportedly has the highest rate of homelessness in the country, as the price of living has risen to a staggering rate, which has driven many families across the border to find affordable housing. In some instances, a family member or parent will be deported, so children will accompany them back to Mexico but make the exhausting trip back to the U.S. daily for school.

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