A casino customer is detained by immigration officials for nearly a week, has been released in the U.S., despite his illegal status. Agent Steven Pitts from U.S. Customs explains why the man was detained for six days. Diana Guevara reports.
A casino customer was detained by immigration officials for nearly a week, then released here in the U.S., despite his illegal status.
U.S. Border Patrol says a typical detention after catching someone in the U.S. illegally is 72 hours. But it varies depending on the case.
In this case the man, identified only as Sebastian, said he was wrongly detained for 6 days, earlier this month.
According to a Sycuan spokesperson, 26-year-old Sebastian was questioned for I.D. by security because he looked too young.
That is when the casino says Sebastian showed them four fake IDs, before presenting his Matricula Consular Card, a Mexican consulate card the casino says they normally accept no questions asked.
But in this case, Sycuan decided to call Border Patrol after suspecting that even that card was false.
Sycuan also admitted that it is not their policy to call immigration officials, but that this was an exception.
While the Matricula card may get you into the casino, Border Patrol says, to immigration, it is not a valid form of documentation to be in the United States legally.
Border Patrol says Sebastian also admitted to them that he was here illegally, so they took him in.
He was processed and held by immigration officers for 6 days.
“Individuals can be held in the Border Patrol custody while they wait to see a judge, anywhere from two days up two weeks,” said Agent Steven Pitts with U.S. Customs & Border Protection.
“It all depends on bed space,” he said.
Sebastian was handed over to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and released back in the U.S. where he is now fighting his case.
NBC 7 has contacted ICE to find out why he was released in the U.S. and not to Mexico.
Check back for developments on this story.