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.

Filed Under: cbp, children, immigration, isabel medina, overreaction, thelma galaxia, us citizens


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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 22 Mar 2019 @ 10:58am

    There's a crisis at the border

    Caused by CBP.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 22 Mar 2019 @ 11:02am

      Re:

      "Caused by CBP."

      Exasperated by the local government's refusal to follow the law.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 22 Mar 2019 @ 4:49pm

      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

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 23 Mar 2019 @ 7:19am

        Re: Re:

        Refugees have been fleeing the violence in Central America for decades, this is not new.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 23 Mar 2019 @ 8:10am

        Re: Re:

        There has not been a rise in immigration since 9/11. The difference is that we keep cutting the number of people working in customs and immigration so there is a growing backlog and longer and longer wait times for all matters regarding customs and immigration.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    That Anonymous Coward (profile), 22 Mar 2019 @ 11:11am

    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.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Jeffrey Nonken (profile), 22 Mar 2019 @ 11:23am

    A coerced signature from a minor is not only legally binding, but actually re-writes reality. The girl really is now his cousin.

    Word Processor of the Gods. Life imitates art!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Toto Lee, 22 Mar 2019 @ 11:45am

    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.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
      identicon
      Toto Lee, 22 Mar 2019 @ 11:46am

      Re: Totally biased Techdirt always claims malice not mistake

      Was caught in Techdirt's unpredictable weird filters yet after changing TOR circuit, through as first written.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Gary (profile), 22 Mar 2019 @ 12:04pm

        Re: Re: Totally biased Troll

        Sorry Blueballs, still going to be user flagged as off topic, senseless, poor use of caps, and containing outright lies.

        Sorry the TD system isn't to your liking.

        Are there any comment sections that pass Colandar Law muster? Or are they all illegal in the court of your private fiction?

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
          identicon
          Toto Lee, 22 Mar 2019 @ 12:26pm

          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.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            Gary (profile), 22 Mar 2019 @ 12:32pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: 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?

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 24 Mar 2019 @ 11:46am

            Re: Maybe it’s time to turn off your internet

            Goddamn bluebells you are now so fucking paranoid you can’t tell one scary internet boogeyman from the other.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Shufflepants (profile), 22 Mar 2019 @ 12:20pm

        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.

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          identicon
          Toto Lee, 22 Mar 2019 @ 12:28pm

          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.

          THE MIGHTY TECHDIRT FILTERS FAILED ON EXACT SAME TEXT. IT'S JUST RANDOM.

          And laughable because of it.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 22 Mar 2019 @ 12:33pm

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

            It's random, and yet out to get you.

            Genius.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Baron von Robber, 22 Mar 2019 @ 12:44pm

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

            You misspelled "I failed to grasp the first thing of what I wrote,"

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 22 Mar 2019 @ 1:53pm

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

            So random that it flags you EVERY SINGLE TIME with unerring accuracy and precision. Oh yes, totally random. Not.

            Have a downvote.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 22 Mar 2019 @ 1:54pm

        Try learning some proper English.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 22 Mar 2019 @ 1:51pm

      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.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 23 Mar 2019 @ 10:22am

      Re: Totally biased Techdirt always claims malice not mistake

      What the fuck are you wanting about?

      Maybe it's time for you to step away from the computer for a while.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      f, 23 Mar 2019 @ 1:21pm

      Re: Totally biased Techdirt always claims malice not mistake

      Off topic. Go away and get a brain.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Ninja (profile), 22 Mar 2019 @ 12:05pm

    Mafia thugs. That's how they are behaving like. And nobody is reining them in. So much for checks and balances.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Coyne Tibbets (profile), 22 Mar 2019 @ 12:50pm

      Re:

      Under the circumstances, I would be very happy if it was only a case of not reining them in. But it isn't, rather we have a leader who eggs them on.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 22 Mar 2019 @ 2:05pm

      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.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 22 Mar 2019 @ 3:04pm

      Re:

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

      Worse, I rather doubt even a jaded mafia thug would force a child to write a 'confession' like CBP did, the mafia at least has some standards.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Annonymouse, 22 Mar 2019 @ 8:45pm

        Re: Re:

        Well it isn't even the police that keeps actual mafia thugs in line but their own by nipping off bits and pieces for crossing the line.
        Going too far they end up taking a swim.wearing a rug overcoat.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 22 Mar 2019 @ 1:15pm

    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!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      James T, 22 Mar 2019 @ 1:50pm

      Re:

      IMO ever since 9/11 these teams have learned their exaggerated zero-oversight budgets directly depending on the will of the political arm. All other budgets are cut because of the oversight and red tape makes it impossible to run them.

      The DEA learned this years ago but DHS is new.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Thad (profile), 22 Mar 2019 @ 3:15pm

      Re:

      I think this is considerably worse than someone having a bad day.

      I think that at this point, CBP in general, and ICE in particular, is an organization that attracts white supremacists.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        That One Guy (profile), 22 Mar 2019 @ 3:38pm

        Re: Re:

        Nonsense, I mean what could possibly be attractive to losers like that about a job where you get to rough up, harass, or even shoot people of darker skin than you with no repercussions?

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 23 Mar 2019 @ 4:34pm

      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.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    David, 22 Mar 2019 @ 2:58pm

    This is all a big misunderstanding.

    CBP was not trying to frame Oscar when trying to get him to agree soliciting for his sister.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    That One Guy (profile), 22 Mar 2019 @ 3:09pm

    '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.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    nobetacucks (profile), 23 Mar 2019 @ 7:14am

    questioning a 9 yr old

    shouldn't they have waited til her parents arrived ? doesn't seem legal . Seems they could've taken a new picture to show the old one isn't her !

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 23 Mar 2019 @ 7:33am

    Good glad they are checking everyone.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 23 Mar 2019 @ 9:46am

    Fucking immigration people! American Nazi!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      David, 24 Mar 2019 @ 2:14am

      Re:

      Not considering people from a different racial backgrounds as entitled to basic human rights does not make them Nazis.

      A good first step, though.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 23 Mar 2019 @ 11:20am

    You can kill ICE and CPB on sight, or you can let them disappear your children when you aren't looking with every intent to - as they accused the kids of - engage in sex-trafficking with them.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    ARLibertarian, 24 Mar 2019 @ 10:01am

    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)

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 25 Mar 2019 @ 3:47am

      Re: Cross Border for School?

      The linked article says "Both [children] are passport-holding U.S. citizens."

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      James T, 25 Mar 2019 @ 4:08am

      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.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 25 Mar 2019 @ 6:42am

      Re: Cross Border for School?

      Better check their tax returns also, can't let anything slip when checking their paperz. Parking tickets too, and library fees. We can not let these criminals walk free amongst our esteemed non-corrupt free society now can we?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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