Texas teenager’s deportation may spur communities to take action

A 14-year-old girl who ran away from her Texas home in 2010 may have wrongly been deported to Colombia in April 2011, providing further evidence that the United States’ immigration policies may be misdirected.

According to her grandmother, the teen, whose first name is Jakadrien, left her home when her parents were going through a difficult divorce. Jakadrien was arrested by Houston police after she was caught stealing and using the name of a 22-year-old illegal immigrant.

Immigration officials did not confirm Jakadrien’s identity, even though they did put the young girl through finger printing procedures before deporting her to the South American country of Colombia, despite the fact that she does not speak Spanish.

Officials told the New York Daily News that Jakadrien gave no hint of another identity during her processing, maintaining the false identity throughout her deportation process. Once in Colombia, the 14-year-old was given full citizenship, according to the Dallas Morning News. The teen is currently in U.S. custody in Colombia.

Northwestern University professor Jacqueline Stevens found that 82 U.S. citizens were held in Arizona immigration centers between 2006 and 2008, and Jakadrien’s deportation is not the first time a U.S. Citizen  has been deported. In 2007, Georgia resident Marc Lyttle was deported to Mexico, according to local Georgia news source WTVM. Living with a mental disorder, Lyttle was not given the right to speak with a lawyer or any family members before he was forced to fly from Texas to Mexico.

Seeing that several U.S. communities have been affected by new U.S. Immigration policies, and wanting to ensure that wrongful deportations are halted, The Immigration Defense Project and Families for Freedom developed the Deportation 101 curriculum. A program that can be broken into one or two days,  Deportation 101 provides families and communities with solutions for how to respond to the judicial system over certain rulings. These tips, which are also available for download online, can additionally be utilized by families or loved ones of those at risk of being deported.