There is a history of U.S. citizens who were accidentally deported by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials, and thousands of American citizens have been illegally detained as the federal government cracks down on undocumented immigrants. Now comes the story of a Texas teenager who is a citizen and was still deported.
Dallas resident Lorene Turner had been searching for her granddaughter Jakadrien Turner since she ran away from home at the age of 14 in fall 2010. She searched for months until Dallas police helped her locate her granddaughter — in the South American country of Colombia, it turns out. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement had deported Jakadrien in April 2011, even though the African American teenager spoke no Spanish:
News 8 learned that Jakadrien somehow ended up in Houston, where she was arrested by Houston police for theft. She gave Houston police a fake name. When police in Houston ran that name, it belonged to a 22-year-old illegal immigrant from Columbia, who had warrants for her arrest. So ICE officials stepped in. News 8 has learned ICE took the girl’s fingerprints, but somehow didn’t confirm her identity and deported her to Colombia, where the Colombian government gave her a work card and released her. “She talked about how they had her working in this big house cleaning all day, and how tired she was,” Turner said. Through her granddaughter’s Facebook messages, Turner says she tracked Jakadrian down. U.S. Federal authorities got an address. U.S. Embassy officials in Colombia asked police to pick her up. But that was a month ago, and the Colombian government now has her in a detention facility and won’t release her, despite her family’s request.
It is unclear how the teenager was mistaken for a foreign national, and ICE officials told Dallas TV station News 8 that ICE has seen cases where people provide inaccurate information about who they are. “ICE takes these allegations very seriously,” ICE Director of Public Affairs Brian Hale told News 8. “At the direction of [the Department of Homeland Security], ICE is fully and immediately investigating this matter in order to expeditiously determine the facts of this case.”