Border Agents Detained a 9-Year-Old U.S. Citizen for 30+ Hours

It's wrong any way you slice it.


KNSD screenshot

U.S. Customs and Border Protection detained a 9-year-old U.S. citizen for more than 30 hours this week, then refused to explain why it took so long to verify her identity.

Thelma Galaxia and her children, 9-year-old Julia Isabel Amparo Medina and 14-year-old Oscar Amparo Medina, live in Tijuana, Mexico. Julia and Oscar are U.S. citizens, though, and they attend school in San Diego. One of Galaxia's friends drove Julia, Oscar, and her own children to the border so they could get to school on Monday, but decided it would be quicker for them to cross the border on foot due to traffic.

That's where Julia ran into trouble. While she has a passport card, the picture on it was taken when she was younger. Customs agents believed she was impersonating her cousin, Galaxia tells KNSD. The agents also accused Oscar of smuggling, the children say.

"My daughter told her brother that the officer told her that if she admitted that she was her cousin, she would be released soon so she could see her mom," Galaxia tells KNSD. "He was told that he would be taken to jail and they were going to charge him for human trafficking and sex trafficking."

Galaxia eventually got in touch with the Mexican consulate, and she was reunited with her children Tuesday evening. The entire ordeal took about 36 hours, KNSD reports.

The government does not deny that this happened. An agency spokesperson tells KNSD that Julia was detained because she "provided inconsistent information during her inspection."

"Some specifics of our techniques for determining the true identity of a person crossing the border are law enforcement sensitive information," the spokesperson adds. "In addition, some details of this case are restricted from release due to privacy concerns."

Any way you slice it, it shouldn't take that long for a government agency to confirm that a passport-carrying little girl is who she says she is.

This incident is not terribly surprising. This is an agency that used a secret database to journalists covering the migrant caravan that made its way toward the U.S. border last year. It's an agency with a history of harassing U.S. citizens around the border. It's an agency that boarded a bus in New Mexico and asked passengers one by one, "Are you a citizen?"

Unfortunately, such actions are considered legal. The Supreme Court has upheld immigration agents' extra authority in areas near the border. As far as the law is concerned, your Fourth Amendment rights essentially evaporate when you come close to a national frontier.

But even if the courts think this is legal, it isn't right. "I was scared," Julia Medina tells KNSD. "I was sad because I didn't have my mom or my brother. I was completely by myself."

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  1. One of Galaxia’s friends drove Julia, Oscar, and her own children to the border so they could get to school on Monday, but decided it would be quicker for them to cross the border on foot due to traffic.

    That’s where Julia ran into trouble. While she has a passport card, the picture on it was taken when she was younger. Customs agents believed she was impersonating her cousin, Galaxia tells KNSD. The agents also accused Oscar of smuggling, the children say.

    30 hours seems longer than necessary to straighten this out but Border Patrol agents seem to be checking for trafficking of kids. This is their job along with other border entry related checks.

    You cannot have government protect kids under the Nanny-State that the Lefties created and then freak out when incompetent government agents take too long a mistake.

    1. Yeah this isn’t exactly giving me reason to put it in in my “this is an outrage!” pile. I don’t imagine this would have happened any differently under any other administration, just without the attention and outrage every immigration story gets since Trump was elected.

      1. 36 hours for the government to do anything seems pretty quick, tbh

        1. Perhaps, but consider how quick it would seem to you if you were held for a day and a half while federal agents verified your true story. I don’t like that this is only being reported because TRUMP! either and that improper detentions no doubt happened all the time under every president, but it’s still outrageous.

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      2. Considering the author is another affirmative action (progressive) hire by the editors of Reason it only makes sense that they would be looking for any anecdotal evidence of Border Patrol abuse albeit inconsequential. Joe Seyton is a lazy and yes progressive journalist who is doing his part to ruin the Libertarian moniker. Thanks Nick for another low IQ hire.

    2. Nice shifting of the blame to Lefties. The real problem is the papers-please mentality of the INS. The blame for that mentality rests at the feel of the Righties.

      1. That’s just what a lefty would say.

        1. Or maybe a libertarian on a libertarian website?

          1. No, a Lefty. Lefties are just as psycho about “human/sex trafficking” and the drug war. And when it’s convenient, they have the same attitude as the righties about the border.

      2. At the border we have a papers please situation. Open borders is not what the Silent Majority want in the USA.

        It would go back to being relaxed if illegals were not being used to tilt American voting demographics.

        1. > …if illegals were not being used to tilt American voting demographics.

          Despite what Faux News tells you, illegal aliens are NOT allowed to vote! Only U.S. citizens are allowed to vote. If you want voter ID, fine, I might join with you in that, but holding a US citizen for 36 hours at the border because she is of Mexican ethnicity has NOTHING to do with voting. It’s antithetical to everything conservatives used to believe.

          1. Except in Commifornia where illegals are allowed to vote.

          2. your phony outrage is so telling. “Faux News” ? My god progressives even pretending to be libertarians lack real humor. So she ran into a typical big government screw-up so what ?

          3. Come on, don’t be so naive. Why do you think Dems are against voter ID and in favor of illegal immigration? In fact, illegal aliens can obtain driver’s licenses in 12 states including California. So, yes they can vote and I’m sure some do vote. We don’t know how many. There are estimated to be about 11 million illegal immigrants in the US so it could be many millions.

            1. And Dems assume these people running from socialism will automatically vote for socialists?

              1. Yes they do. Do you really think these illegals are coming here for Linertopia?

              2. People leaving CA are actively fucking up Colorado. So, yes, lessons tend to not get learned.

        2. She had her papers dude.

          1. Kids don’t have all the rights adults do, dude.

            Sending minors via border checkpoints without their parents is a red flag for ICE.

      3. The real problem is decades of invasion.

        A family of half citizens, half foreigners travels across the border routinely. They live in Mexico. Then the children are sent back alone to cross the border with old IDs.

        Guess what? Systems have false alarm rates. The world is an imperfect place.

        Interesting how the kids are American citizens, with Mommy being a Mexican citizen and all of them living in Mexico. I wonder how that happened. Maybe a bogus judicial footnote which has been used since to grant birthright citizenship to anchor babies?

        1. You cannot call them anchor babies. That is offensive or something. I bet their mom pays taxes to have their kids to go to schools in San Diego. I bet Mexican property taxes are routinely sent to the US school districts educating their offspring…

    3. They accused her 14-year-old brother of “sex trafficking” on apparently zero evidence other than her passport photo was out of date, while encouraging her to lie to them about her identity (which presumably would result in revocation of her passport or otherwise complicating future efforts to enter the country) in order to be released.

      But, yeah, this is just about being in jail for 30 hours for no good reason.

      1. Sex trafficking hysteria is out of control but to imply that pimps and Cartels dont use kids to do dirty work is ridiculous.

        Even the French Underground used kids to help the effort in WWII.

      2. And the photo wasn’t even “out of date”. Most people who have ever had a passport for their kid realize that by the time the kid has had a passport for two or three years, the picture really doesn’t match very well. In this case, since she’s 9, and has a non-citizen parent and lives near the border, it’s a pretty reasonable assumption that she got her first passport when she was an infant, and is nearing the end of the 5 year validity of her 2nd passport. So the picture on the passport card of this 9-year-old is what she looked like when she was 5.

    4. So, fake crisis justifies false imprisonment of a US citizen?

      If you want to make the border wall omelette you gotta crack a few eggs, eh?

      1. Minors traveling without their parents can be a Red flag.

        This is not a crisis. This is a red flag situation that needed to be sorted out. It was.

        Using this situation to open the border wide, is just more stupid hyperbole.

        1. It needs to be sorted out. But this is a minor who lives in Tijuana and crosses the border *every* day to go to school in San Diego. It shouldn’t take 30 hours to sort out.

          1. Why should we encourage people to leech off the US?

            Given schools are primarily funded with property taxes and her family CLEARLY isn’t paying them here…it seems like bullshit.

            I’d also ask that, given the need to provide proof of residence to attend schools, what address they CLAIM to live at for the district.

  2. We’ll witness a couple of more years of this shabby conduct, after which Americans are likely to put the backward and bigoted back in their customary place — as better Americans did with the ignorant and intolerant yahoos who targeted the Irish and the Asians, the Jews and the Catholics, the women and the gays, the blacks and the Italians during earlier waves of bigotry in America — and return to the American way of welcoming immigrants and championing reason, science, tolerance, modernity, and progress.

    Get an education, clingers.

    1. Get an education, clingers.

      So sayeth the Reason Gecko.

    2. “disaffected disaffected disaffected right wing disaffected disaffected disaffected clingers! Retreat!!!”

    3. I seem to recall a forced full medical exam of an American border crosser under the enlightened Obama administration, to stop the scourge of unapproved herbs.

      1. If the herbs were cilantro, I’m ok with that.

    4. Ya right winger like Woodrow Wilson, and FDR who did the most serious harm to non-whites during their tenures. Idiot.

    5. “I really really hate Americans”

  3. It’s here fault for having brown skin in the US South West. I mean, sheesh.

    And yes, I’m accusing the INS of racism. Someone of white or black skin would have been let through with a cursory glance at the passport.

    This is not new. Back when I lived in San Diego the group I was with got stopped at the border. The friend who was a fifth generation US citizen of Mexican heritage was checked thoroughly, and rechecked, before coming back into the US. Another friend, white as Wonderbread, from Canada and not a US citizen at all, was completely ignored. Which was good because he was shitting bricks because he had neglected to bring his passport. Greyhound buses heading north out of the city have to top near San Ysidro for INS to come on board. When they do they check the IDs of anyone with brown skin, but ignore those with white or black skin.

    1. Thanks Brandybuck for a bit of truth-speaking! It gets tiresome for me sometimes to come here to a supposedly Libertarian site, and see all the hatred of illegal sub-humans oozing forth.

      Here’s a good read for those who still have an open mind……..ion-policy

    2. I forget, what race are Americans again?

      This is about Americans deciding which non-Americans get into the USA.

      1. According to the personal testimony of Brandybuck above, the race of “proper” Americans, as de facto enforced by the “Papers Please Police”, is “…white as Wonderbread…”

        Racism is as racism does, it seems to me… I hope that I (in my decayed-mind dotage for example) am not caught without my papers, and deported to Stanstanstanstanistan!

        1. Americans are not a White race.

          1. Please explain that to the Papers Please Police, if they will listen and-or give a hoot.

            Also note that border hysteria, political theater, and grand-standing is endangering our genuine military security needs. We do not have infinite funds.

            See…..index.html for example

          2. And yet what you declare in the comments here doesn’t matter at all compared to the actions on the ground of the DHS goon squad.

      2. This story is about an American not being allowed back into America because she didn’t “look” American enough.

        1. I am so glad you are writing articles now.

          We finally get access to your lunatic news letter.

    3. Anybody walking across the border with children who are not their own would absolutely be stopped and heavily questioned.

      1. +100000

      2. Especially after Chemjeff/Pedo Jeffy revealed his intentions for illegals and kids.

        I’ve noticed he is strangely absent the last few days. He’s usually shits all over immigration articles.

        Maybe he got the message.

    4. Well just look at that face willya. That is the face of a dangerous invader

    5. Race baiters gonna race bait

  4. Some specifics of our techniques for determining the true identity of a person crossing the border are law enforcement sensitive information…

    Those techniques are so reliable that they have to be kept as trade secrets.

    1. Aterwayoardingbay?

    2. Actually yes, I used to work in fraud prevention for an online retailer and we were trained to look for certain things in online orders to help determine ones that were likely fraudulent charges. If fraudsters knew the specific things that we’d look for, they’d know what things to avoid doing to tip us off which would make it easier for them to steal stuff. So yeah, it makes sense that if ICE is trained to look for certain things in order to determine if a person trying to cross the border is who they say they are, they wouldn’t want to let people engaged in identity theft or human trafficking to know what all of those specific things are and what they should avoid doing to tip off ICE.

      1. The comment is pointing to the fact that, whatever method they’re using, it took them over a day to work out, during which time an American citizen was detained without cause. It should be unacceptable and their methods should be open to public scrutiny. In other words, we should care more about the rights of citizens than the convenience of law enforcement.

        1. we should care more about the rights of citizens than the convenience of law enforcement

          ^ This x1000.

        2. There was cause.

          Transporting minors across state lines/international borders is a red flag.

        3. A non-parent adult taking a child across national borders with a picture ID that doesn’t look like the child and giving inconsistent information about their relationship to that child sounds like “cause” to me. And no, I don’t buy the story that the officer told her to lie about who she was.

  5. Well, a child has no business within 100 miles of the border anyway.
    If she/he/it/they are US citizens, where do they get the idea it is OK to live in Mexico?
    Get back here and start paying taxes to fund that school they go to!

  6. Without government, who would traumatize little kids?

    1. Clowns

    2. Crusty.

  7. 1983 I was on a bus to San Angelo to see my girlfriend. Border Patrol pulled bus over in the middle of nowhere, bypassed every single Hispanic individual on the bus in order to start badgering me, the only blue-eyed white person within 50 miles, with “where were you born?”

    After presenting my military ID they actually continued with this line of bullshit for an additional few minutes.

    1. Being in the military you should know then that those guys were told to stop that bus and didnt want to do paperwork and process illegals, so they went for the people who they figured would not cause them more work.


      1. “America First”

  8. Taking children that aren’t your own back and forth across the border should be difficult.

    Taking your own children across the border with only one parent present probably shouldn’t be as easy as traveling alone.

    1. I can see why one would think that.

      But for people who regularly have to cross the border, it still sucks. Maybe some kind of simple, expedited line for people who cross frequently would be good.

  9. >>>While she has a passport card, the picture on it was taken when she was younger.

    so her ID doesn’t look like her and that’s not dad’s fault? far be it from me to support authority, but…

    >>>Any way you slice it, it shouldn’t take that long for a government agency…

    this is cute.

    1. I used to have this problem checking IDs at a club back in the day.

      Tourists from Scandinavia would show me their passports, and the pictures were taken when they were children. All I could know is that they were either 21 or got the passport from someone who was 21.

      1. I would have let *all* the Scandinavian chicks in anyway but that’s me. Seems a fresh ID for the child might have been a better choice for Ms. Galaxia would have been a new ID and/or not trying to cross on foot w/her children to save time.

    2. Reason is never really good at picking outrage anecdotes.

      1. I would be outraged if my kid were detained for questioning for a day and a half. Wouldn’t you?

        1. I would NEVER send my minor child unaccompanied across international borders. NEVER.

          These ICE agents deserve awards for doing their job.

          1. It’s very obvious you’ve never been any ways near the San Diego-Tijuana border crossing. I would ask you to stop talking about things you don’t know anything about but, well, it’s you.

      2. Because they’re outraged over any border enforcement.

  10. Isn’t Tijuana out of district for San Diego schools?

    1. Other people have to follow those school district rules, not this family.

      THIS family needs outrage because Trump bad.

      1. Can’t we just have outrage for outrage’s sake anymore?

        1. Oooohhh.. Sake sounds great right now!

        2. According to the Rev, of course we can!

    2. used to be a fun safe place to go on a Friday night but that was 30 years ago

    3. Could be a private school. Most public schools will also take out of district students if the home district or parents pay.

      1. Most public schools don’t take students who live in different states let alone different countries.

        1. Yeah, out of district doesn’t mean out of country.

        2. Most public schools don’t border another country though. But I’d also disagree because I had all kinds of foreign exchange students in my classes, so yeah public schools let in foreigners all the time.

          1. Those students had to be legal residents of the School District.

          2. It’s not that she’s a foreigner. It’s that she doesn’t live in the district. Exchange students live with families who are in the school district where they’ll attend.

          3. Yes we had foreign exchange students as well but in their case they lived with host families in the district while they attended school. It would have been a much different situation – even with our state’s “open enrollment” policies – for a someone who was living in an entirely different state let alone a different country to attend public school.

    4. Tijuana is essentially a suburb of San Diego. The separation between Baja and Alta Californias is largely a legal fiction, hence the very different views Californians tend to have about unauthorized immigration vs. people in other parts of the country.

    5. The chip is already in your pocket most of the time anyway.

      1. Look below

        1. One more time

    6. You need to pay attention to the things the article doesn’t say. It’s a pretty reasonable assumption, given that they mention that the kids are US citizens and don’t mention the mother’s citizenship, that their mother is not a US citizen. Which means their father, who isn’t mentioned in the story at all, is. The fact that the mother is mentioned and the father isn’t indicates that they’re probably divorced. So, if parents share custody 50-50 and live in different districts, are the kids in district for both, out of district for both, or in district for one and out of district for the other? And if the latter, how is it determined which is which? My guess is that the divorce resulted in a shared custody arrangement, and that the father lives in San Diego.

      1. Parents are never given an even 50-50 split in custody. A joint custody declaration will specifically say which parent is the custodial parent, which parent is in charge of schooling, which is in charge of medical care etc. if the parents could get along enough to work all that on their own, they probably wouldn’t in divorce court.

  11. U.S. Customs and Border Protection … refused to explain why it took so long to verify her identity.

    It’s because we don’t mandate implanted microchips yet, isn’t it?

    1. STOP giving them reasons to implement a bad idea.

      1. Oh, it’s going to be, um, *real* interesting when this shit starts in earnest.

        1. Yeah, plus, they don’t need reasons anyway.

          1. And when “They” do implement it, it will be to appease people like you.

            1. 0 = [] is back.

              1. Get a job.

    2. Implants can be removed; laser tattoos on the forehead is much more Biblical. Three groups of 6 digits should do.

  12. Cop lie nothing new here .Why not go to school in the shit hole place you live ?

  13. Where I live, my kids must attend the public school in their/my district.

    Why is an American public school educating a resident of Mexico? Are there no schools in Tijuana? It seems to be a great burden to cross the border twice a day to attend school.

    That said, this is a great lefty story! It got the Reverend all spun up with denunciations of goobers, cousin fuckers, and clingers, i.e. everybody between Los Angeles and New York.

    1. It seems to be a great burden to cross the border twice a day to attend school.

      Tens of thousands of people cross that border every day commuting to work and/or school. It’s much like going over a toll bridge into a place like San Francisco.

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  15. A nine year old being interrogated and told that she could see her mother if she confessed while her 14 year old brother wad being threatened with a human and sex trafficking charge ON HER WAY TO SCHOOL gave an inconsistent story? What kind of vile, slack-jawed idiots are we empowering at our border?

    1. Another question: how many pre teen girls are trafficked by teen boys across the border every day.

      Detection systems have false alarms. Life is imperfect.

  16. I’m not feeling this was an event that really deserves any outrage. It isn’t even newsworthy.

  17. Assume your facts as provided by the actors are accurate, this was a sad incident, and I feel for the child. This one – or even 30 or even 300 – horrible incident(s) should not be used to condemn a system that is dealing with tens of thousands of entrants per month. It was the choice of the driver in this case that played a part; it was the restrictions placed on border agents and refusal of politicians to responsibly deal with these issues. The system is untenable due to the actions of Mexican and U S political actors, drug dealers, terrorists who use these ports of entry, and useful idiots who elevate one poorly handled incident into a crisis and condemnation.

  18. Eliminate all borders. It works OK for the United States interior. Only people with means and desperate people will migrate, creating an equilibrium where otherwise existed an arbitrary misallocation of people caused by random historical events.

    1. “arbitrary misallocation of people caused by random historical events.”

      Strange how “arbitrary” and “random” processes produce a clear pattern of more peace, security, and freedom in Anglo America compared to Latin America.

      Such bad luck for Latin America!

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  22. ICE had to release 24k illegal border jumpers into the interior of the US in the last THREE WEEKS, 108k in the last three months. They don’t have the facilities to deal with the absolute deluge of border jumpers suddenly rushing the border.

    It’s wrong any way you slice it. And it’s all due to our dysfunctional rules which were engineered by rabid anti-American progressives looking to bring us down, and Democrat refusal to do anything about it.

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