What If Nobody Told You Your Daughter Had Been Mistakenly Deported? [Reader Forum]

In a horrific case of mistaken identity, a 14-year-old African-American girl from Dallas was deported to Colombia -- while her family ran a desperate missing person search.

By Channing Kennedy Jan 09, 2012

Two big stories captured the conversation on Colorlines.com last week — and since it’s clear we’re only seeing the beginning of Franchesca Ramsey‘s career, let’s look to the other news item.

Jakedrien Turner ran away from home in April 2010 at the age of 14, and has only been reunited with her family on Friday. Details on the story are still forthcoming, but what’s clear so far is that the United States government was complicit in keeping Jakedrien separated from her family — because they mistakenly deported her to Colombia. As Julianne Hing wrote on Friday,

Dallas’ WFAA reports that Jakadrien’s grandmother Lorene Turner, who waged a relentless campaign to locate her granddaughter, received a phone call last night informing her that her Jakadrien would be returned to U.S. officials this morning. […] The Dallas teen, who spoke no Spanish and is a U.S. citizen, reportedly told police that she was a native of Colombia after she was arrested for shoplifting last year. According to news reports, the name she gave immigration officials matched that of a person who was wanted on other charges, and even though Turner’s fingerprints didn’t match, ICE deported her anyway. Turner’s been living in Colombia since April of last year and making a living working at a call center.

It’s concerning that ICE puts more stock in the fibs of teenage runaways more than actual fingerprinting science — and it’s concerning to think of how many people this has happened to that have never been heard from. Here’s what you had to say.

Adrienne Mon Chéri Blossoms:

Have a ‘missing’ child or wayward teen? You might want to check ICE for them. If you are a parent, this story should REALLY bother you. Something tells me this wasn’t a one-time ‘hiccup’ for a system hell-bent on bigotry over safety. This 15-yr old child was DEPORTED to another country where she had NO relatives and didn’t even speak the language. I work with kids so I’m not buying that she was that good of a liar or that sophisticated to ‘fool’ an ENTIRE legal system.

George B has little sympathy:

This girl is her own worst enemy. Giving false information to authorities is a crime. She should be held responsible for all expenses in this case.

Psyclic replies:

At the VERY LEAST, ICE needed to confirm the grl’s identity and age. Otherwise, George B could be picked up some evening without any ID and be told he was being deported back to Haiti.


Honestly, none of us know 100% why she left home. They could have mistaken her by appearance because there are Colombians of African decent. But, in all, ICE did fail her. Why? Because I’m pretty sure she gave them her real name once they told her she would be deported to another country as a 20-something illegal alien. They also took fingerprints, and they had to have had the original suspect’s fingerprints on file in Colombia, otherwise they couldn’t confirm the identity without a photo or someone pointing the suspect out. This obviously was the girl’s first case ever if they didn’t have a record of her at all in the state, so she was probably an easy target of some corner cutting desk man at central booking.

Once an officer of the law, no matter what agency, branch, or division, feels he or she has made a righteous bust, all benefit of the doubt goes out the window. When the authorities get a hit on a name they don’t care what was true and what was false. It’s kinda like how a referee is in the NBA. I’ve seen a brother doing time for his older brother because of matching tattoo’s and a slight resemblance but this is ridiculous.


This is really getting scary, people. We need to read more and realize that deporting people from America has become big business. Read about all the new prisons being build by private prison contractors, who are making millions of dollars holding what they call ‘illegals’ for deportation. This child lied, but she got caught up in what is happening in this country. People are being detained, imprisoned and deported for a profit.

Between the time this child was arrested and finally deported, someone made thousands of dollars. Someone was paid to shelter and feed her; and someone was paid to transport her to Colombia. There is money being made for human suffering and this is only the beginning: READ.

H Saron Livingnloving Free:

Many Afro-Indio people in Colombia, so she’d fit right in (her features don’t look that different from others of African & presumably Native American – per her grandma – descent). folx may’ve thought she’d lied about not speaking Spanish …

another perspective: Do you know how many undocumented peoples get arrested & returned to their homelands after serving jail or prison time and thus acting as free labor? Wonder how many of those folx aren’t actually the ones police sought out? Wonder, too, how many supposedly undocumented peoples are sent away regardless of the fact that they ARE in fact documented?

i’m just saying — people didn’t cross borders, borders crossed peoples …

To give some context to the forces at play in the disappearing of a fifteen-year-old girl, read Seth Freed Wessler’s newest investigative piece, "Dispatch From Detention: A Rare Look Inside Our ‘Humane’ Immigration Jails," a continuation of his incredible work for the Shattered Families report. Highly recommended for anyone wanting to understand the real circumstances that people face before, during, and after deportation.

In the comments on Seth’s newest piece, we’d like to thank 0msihaveavoice1 for sharing with us her firsthand account of detainment:

Great article! I have been in detention in Florida at the Broward Transitional Center In Pompano beach; it was a bitter experience. You are treated very inhumanely; if you are sick, you must fill out a request to see the doctor (it can take up to a week to see the doctor). A lot of the women detained suffered from excessive bleeding during their periods; some had stopped menstruating (a sign of psychological stress). There was an inmate who had tried to commit suicide; the doctor placed her under surveillance for one day and then released her back into the regular population. She was always drugged up with medication and spent the entire day in bed.

It was very hard for me as a young 24-year-old woman to see the great inhumane treatment that such detention centers practice. Many people who were not able to speak English were treated differently by the officers; some were neglected and ignored. There was an issue with bed bugs; a lot of women developed rashes. Once again, if you felt sick you would have to wait a week, which by then you will either feel better or worse. I remember always feeling watched over, even in my sleep. I had very bad headaches, always had nightmares. When we had to be counted around 2:00 AM, the officers will come in the cells yelling and waking us up. Sometimes they will come in at any given time in the wee hours of the night and will take some detainees, and we never saw them again. I didn’t know where they were taking them to and neither did they. It was scary to think that you could not even sleep due to being afraid and always thinking " will I be taken away next?" "where will they take me to" …

I met great women in detention; their stories will forever be engraved in my heart. These women were undocumented, but they were all great souls. A lot of them ended up there due to lack of drivers licences. Many of them like myself had no criminal records yet still forced to be detained under "a threat to society" or "terrorism." In the detention center where I was, we were supposed to have "Arts and Crafts" every other day; I never attended any of them – since I never witnessed such classes. The food at commissary was very unhealthy; milk had to be sipped quick since we had no fridge to store it. When we had a meeting with one of ICE’s top directors of the center we asked if we can please have healthier choices at commissary. We felt that since we had to pay for the food ourselves we might as well demand fruits and vegetables. The answer we received from him was: "Ladies, I did a lot regarding the food we provide you with – It was my idea to have salt and pepper provided during lunch and dinner meals" . . . .

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