Legal Issues Raised by Accidental ICE Deportation of Missing Teenager to Colombia

1162428_21968707_01062012.jpgWe recently blogged about Jakadrien Turner, who ran away from home in the fall of 2010, reportedly because she was upset over the death of her grandfather and her parents’ divorce.

This case presents many questions, the most obvious of which is how ICE managed to arrest, detain, and deport an American teenager who does not speak Spanish to a Latin American country without even confirming her identity. ICE issued a statement earlier this week saying they are investigating the matter and take the allegations “very seriously.” According to WFAA in Dallas, an ICE official also commented that individuals sometimes provide false information about identity and immigration status for “ulterior motives.” How that relates to Jakadrien’s case is anyone’s guess at this point. The statement suggests two issues in immigration law that often present problems for immigrants and are certainly in play here: inaccurate information in government databases and use of false information by individuals.

Since the creation of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the reorganization of federal immigration authorities into new agencies like ICE, much of the enforcement of immigration laws has increasingly relied on a series of databases of information on immigrants, their immigration history, and any criminal history. As with any large collection of information, it is prone to error. It has also led to multiple instances of people being incorrectly identified and detained, including both immigrants and United State citizens. People have spent days or longer in detention until a mistake is spotted, and they have little recourse after release. Perhaps it was only a matter of time before authorities actually deported a U.S. citizen in error.

Another issue involves use of false or fraudulent information by immigrants and other individuals. Federal immigration laws deal very harshly with the use of false information in order to obtain an immigration benefit, such as using a fake social security number to get employment or falsifying information in an application or petition. The reasons why ICE reportedly did not even verify Jakadrien’s identity after her arrest are not definitively known, but her use of a fake name likely had a great deal to do with it. Surely, after her arrest, she tried to tell authorities who she was, but perhaps by then the damage was done. Hopefully she and her grandmother will be safely reunited soon.

Ohio immigration visa lawyer Gus Shihab helps people understand and navigate the U.S. immigration system, which includes the constantly-changing politics of our immigration laws. For a free and confidential consultation, contact us through our website or at 877-479-4USA (4872).

More Blog Posts:

Arizona Sheriff Arpaio Mistreats Pregnant Mexican Foreign National Inmate, Immigration Visa Lawyer Blog, December 30, 2011
Ohio Businessman’s Arrest Leads to a Hold by Immigration Officials, Immigration Visa Lawyer Blog, December 22, 2011
Deportations Speed up with the Secure Communities Initiative, Immigration Visa Lawyer Blog,

Photo credit: coolza on stock.xchng.