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A nine-year-old US citizen who crosses the border from Mexico into California every weekday for school was detained for over 30 hours beginning on Monday after she said agents accused her of claiming to be her cousin.
Julia Isabel Amparo Medina, the daughter of Thelma Galaxia, was stopped by US Customs and Border Patrol in the early morning hours while attempting to cross from from Tijuana, Mexio as she does each school day to attend classes in San Ysidro, California.
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Julia said agents told her she didn't look like her passport photo.
Her 14-year-old brother, Oscar Amparo Medina, was also questioned, and allegedly made to sign a document stating that his sister was actually his cousin, Melanie, while the family said he was threatened with sex trafficking charges.
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Agents said Julia 'provided inconsistent information during her inspection' and it was necessary to keep her in custody while they verified her identity and citizenship status.
Oscar was apparently not detained, and the family was reunited on Tuesday.
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It wasn't until about 6pm Pacific the following day that Galaxia received the call that her daughter would be released to her at the San Ysidro port of entry.
'I was scared, Julia said.' I was sad because I didn't have my mom or my brother. I was completely by myself,' she added, noting she woke up throughout the night several times, sad because she was alone rather than at home with her family.
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Regarding the 32-plus hours it took to sort out Julia's valid citizenship status, Public Affairs officer Jackie Wasiluk told NBC 7 in a statement:
'Some specifics of our techniques for determining the true identity of a person crossing the border are law enforcement sensitive information. In addition, some details of this case are restricted from release due to privacy concerns.'
Julia - Family
Julia and her family shared...
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