A 15-year-old girl who ran away from home in 2010 was mistakenly deported to Colombia, despite being an American citizen who doesn't speak Spanish. According to a report from WFAA in Dallas, she had been living and working in South America for nearly nine months before immigration officials were alerted to the mix-up.
Jakadrien Turner ran away from her Dallas home after her parents' divorce in the fall of 2010 and eventually made her way to Houston, where she was arrested for shoplifting. Turner reportedly gave police a fake name that happened to belong to a 22-year-old immigrant who had warrants for her arrest. (One immigration official disputed that claim, which actually makes the error even more egregious.) At that point, immigration officials stepped in, taking Turner's fingerprints, but never confirming her identity before sending her "back" to Colombia. Though Turner had no family or connections of any kind, government officials in that country gave her a work permit and sent her on her way. That was in April of last year.
Turner's grandmother, with the help of Dallas police, managed to eventually track the girl down using Facebook. She's now in custody in Colombia at the request of the U.S., but at this point officials there have refused to released her. (Oh, and she might also be pregnant.)
The case demonstrates a stunning break down of the already maligned federal immigration system. Even the President will reportedly get a briefing on the matter this week, as those who question the ability of ICE to do its job properly will certainly be up in arms. Even though some of her Facebook posts suggest that she may have encouraged the belief that Colombia was her home, the fact than any U.S. citizen could actually be deported is quite disturbing.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.