An American citizen child was recently deported to Columbia because there was nothing to indicate that she wasn’t Columbian.
Fifteen year old Jakadrien Turner was born in Texas. She doesn’t speak Spanish. She and her family have no ties to Columbia. Yet, this little girl was physically deported from her home country to to the foreign land of Columbia in a perfect example of why government oversight is and should continue to be a prized and celebrated American attribute.
The child was arrested on a petit theft charge in Houston, Texas. She made the grave error to give law enforcement a false name and tell them that she was from Columbia. Apparently, that is all it takes for a wayward child to get deported from the United States and physically removed from the custody of the child’s parents.
The real question, however, is how immigration authorities, with all of their power, intelligence, and consolidated networking, could make such an eggregious error. The answer is shocking. Authorities claim that there was nothing to indicate that the child was not Columbian. Plain and simple.
This case goes to show how a 15 year old child can so easily find herself in the middle of a country that she has never been to, with a people who do not speak her language, with no money, no resources, and no familial support. Unlike in criminal proceedings where everyone is entitled to an attorney, in immigration proceedings, you are only entitled to an attorney at your own expense. If you can’t afford an attorney, you don’t get one. Even if you are a 15 year old U.S. citizen.
This case has made national headlines because Jakadrien is a child. But the implications go far beyond this case. The question remains: How many U.S. citizens have been deported who suffer from indigency, mental health issues, or other barriers that prevent them from being able to represent themselves in a dauntingly immense immigration court system.
Immigration officials, for the most part, make every effort to do their jobs in a fair and legal manner. But when you have a system that is underfunded and overextended, more and more mistakes are going to follow. Read more about Jakadrien’s case here.