It is conceivable that US citizens detained at CBP will self deport to exit overcrowded CBP detainment facilities avoid lengthy detainments (>20 days). How would a US citizen's self-deportation affect one's ability to cross borders and return home?


"Food for thought" for responses:

  1. Upon deportation, why would CBP allow you to re-enter the country with the questioned documents?
  2. Would CBP not confiscate the questioned documents before deportation?
  3. Citizen is held incommuncado.

There is a claim that 2 of 3 Americans live in the 100-Mile border zone patrolled by CBP:

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  • 4
    Related: the UK forcibly deported citizens to Jamaica, and not all of them have managed to get back. Some died before the abuse could be rectified. independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/…
    – pjc50
    Jul 30, 2019 at 12:46

2 Answers 2


They can't take his citizenship...

Since he claims to be a born citizen, he has citizenship by birthright and nothing CBP can do can possibly revoke it.

He can voluntarily renounce his citizenship, but he has to do that through the State Dept. (which CBP is not part of). And that is an elaborate and expensive process that can't even be done inside the United States. If someone could do it merely by entering without papers and asking for a self-deport, lots of expats would save a lot of money - and that's not gonna happen :)

...but they could put him to serious inconvenience

In this particular case, CBP found his documents suspect. Probably because (if it's the case we've seen documented elsewhere) he was with two other people whose entry was illegal, and they had forged documents.

So most likely, if he agreed to self-deport, CBP would use that as prima-facie evidence that he is not a bona-fide citizen, and therefore, that his papers are faked. They certainly will not give fake papers back to someone who has tried to pass them.

So the victim would be obliged to go back to SSA, the state, etc. and re-acquire his identity documents. From outside the country. It's a pretty big chore.

  • 1
    The citizen would be deported and have no papers? Yikes!
    – gatorback
    Jul 30, 2019 at 3:57
  • 9
    They had forged documents and his mother claimed he was not born in the US. Jul 30, 2019 at 6:26
  • 2
    Deported to where?
    – gerrit
    Jul 30, 2019 at 11:20
  • 1
    @gerrit In this case back to where his mother and sibling were from which was Mexico. Jul 30, 2019 at 13:40
  • 2
    If I were hateful, I would earn some foreign income, pay US tax on it, then sue the Commissioner for the tax back, saying I shouldn't owe it since I am ruled not a citizen. Pull in CBP as a witness and let the judge give them what-for. Jul 30, 2019 at 21:28

He's a citizen; his citizenship can't be taken by ICE or CBP, and he can't legally be kept from returning to the US from Mexico by them. He was offered "self-deportation" because ICE was illegally or irrationally detaining him, thinking that his documents were forged or stolen.

He could have "self-deported" in order to simply get out of detention, since it was offered by ICE; but he's a US citizen, so as soon as he was in Mexico, he could simply go to the border and cross with his documents. If CBP kept him from crossing at the border, his lawyer could attest to his citizenship with documents. And any "self-deportation" document he signed could be shown to be meaningless in court, since he's a citizen, and ICE was illegally or irrationally detaining him.

  • 15
    Also, since he is not a Mexican citizen, Mexico would be under no obligation to allow him to enter their country, and it could deport him to the U.S. if it wished.
    – ohwilleke
    Jul 30, 2019 at 1:28
  • 15
    It strikes me that "simply" is probably not the term that applies to a border crossing after you've been deported as a non-citizen. Your biometrics would be on file as a person who has been deported, and it's not clear to me what travel documents you'd have (they presumably won't deport you and hand you your US passport on your way out the door). I'm not saying that you won't get back, but it's unlikely to be a simple process. Jul 30, 2019 at 7:12
  • 6
    If a "self-deportation document" incorporates an "admission" that the signatory is not a US citizen, could a US citizen who signs this and later successfully proves his citizenship be guilty of some offense relating to false statements and become the target of a new, ostensibly lawful, detention?
    – Will
    Jul 30, 2019 at 11:07
  • 4
    If there was a reasonable suspicion, that Francisco Erwin Galicia was in possession of forged documents, why is it stated that "ICE was illegally or irrationally detaining him"?
    – Michael J.
    Jul 30, 2019 at 14:52
  • 4
    @MichaelJ. At some point in the three weeks, whatever reasonable suspicion they had ceased to be reasonable. If it had truly been reasonable, they would have described their reasonable suspicion instead of falsely claiming that he never asserted US citizenship. While they have disclosed facts that make some suspicion reasonable, they have not explained why they held him for so long. Also, for a criminal arrest, the standard is probable cause. They have an obligation to establish probable cause by investigating their suspicion. Whether the investigation was sufficient is not apparent.
    – phoog
    Jul 31, 2019 at 11:48

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