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July 20, 2019

USA Today: Rep. Nanette Barragán Met U.S. Citizen in Border Patrol Custody

Rep. Nanette Barragán Met U.S. Citizen in Border Patrol Custody

By Nicholas Wu

WASHINGTON – A U.S. lawmaker described ‘unacceptable’ border detention facilities while meeting with a U.S. citizen who was in Customs and Border Patrol custody for hours on Friday.

Rep. Nannette Barragán, D-Calif., had been on a congressional tour of facilities on the southern U.S. border when the delegation stopped at the Ursula Detention Center, a Border Patrol processing and detention center near McAllen, Texas.

Barragán told USA TODAY she had been walking around the facility looking for people who looked like they wanted to talk. She spotted one woman by a fence in the facility so Barragán knelt down to talk to her.

The woman told Barragán she was traveling from Ecuador along with her 13-year-old daughter, a U.S. citizen.

“I was shocked,” said Barragán, who took took pictures of the girl’s passport. Barragán said the document stated the girl was born in New York.

The congresswoman added she was “in shock about why there was an American citizen being detained in one of these facilities.”

In a statement to USA TODAY, Customs and Border Protection said “the daughter had crossed the border from the U.S. to meet her mother and they were then apprehended crossing back into the U.S. illegally.”

CBP added the mother and her daughter were held “in custody at the Centralized Processing Center for about five hours and were released two hours after they were processed.”

The mother was provided a “Notice to Appear,” or a document with instructions to appear before an immigration judge for a hearing, CBP said.