UPDATE 1/9/12: Jakadrien Turner was returned home safely Saturday, and is now with her family. Immigration officials maintain there wasn’t anything to prove she wasn’t who she said she was.
This terrifies me.
Jakadrien Turner is a Dallas 14 year old who, distraught over her parents’ divorce and her grandfathers’ death, ran away from home in 2010 and was never found until just now. See, she’d wound up in Houston and was picked up by police, and when the officials ran the fake name she gave them, it just so happened it matched up with an illegal immigrant with a warrant out for her arrest. Despite her complete and total lack of Spanish language ability, her not knowing anyone at all in Colombia, and her fingerprints, ICE and a Texas judge decided it was time to ship her out. Now that she’s been tracked down by her grandmother with the help of police and Facebook, Colombian officials won’t return her.
Here’s the thing: I’m sure this story is more complex, and details will surface about just how such a massive mistake was made. That being said, there’s cause for more than a little concern when our justice system is so eager to find illegal immigrants and kick them out that they take a 14 year old runaway at her word. This isn’t even an issue of due process, it’s an issue of due dilligence – nothing about her suggests that she is a foreign national, or that, say, only one person on Earth has a certain name.
For the love of whatever it is you think is more powerful than yourself, people, please vote.