In today’s “are you effing kidding” me story: the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement deported a Jakadrien Turner, an African-American teenager who’s not Latina and doesn’t speak Spanish, to Colombia.
Dallas-native Jakardien had been reported missing since the fall of 2010 when she ran away from home. More than a year later, her grandmother Lorene tracked her via Facebook and discovered that she was in Colombia, where she had been since ICE deported her on April of 2011.
According to WFAA, Jakardien ended up in South America after she was arrested in Houston for stealing. When detained, she provided false information, which regrettably ended up matching the data of a 22-year-old undocumented worker from Colombia who had outstanding warrants for her address.
While this is an instant of being in the wrong place at the wrong time, how in the hell does ICE mistake a 14-year-old and a 22-year-old? Why so quick in deportation without a full investigation? Oh, that’s right. Secure Communities. If you’re unfamiliar with the government initiative (started under the Bush administrated but fed steroids by Obama & Co.), it’s a partnership between all levels of law enforcement (federal, state, and local) aimed at identifying violent and criminal undocumented immigrants and removing them from the country.
Of course, that’s the idealistic version of the law. In its current incarnation, any undocumented individual who’s pulled over for something like a broken taillight can be detained by ICE and deported. This is largely due to the fact that Congress has set a quota of 400,000 deportations that must be met in order for the program to continue to get funding.*
In short, it’s complete bull crap. It places too strong of an emphasis on meeting the stats (and if you’ve seen The Wire, you already know what stat-centric policing does to crime prevention). That’s why Jakardien Turner ends up in Colombia. She’s one more tally towards that magical number. It’s the reason that, until recently, perennial douchebag Sheriff Joe Arpaio got away with racially profiling and terrorizing the Latino community of Maricopa County, Arizona.
Hopefully this news story goes national and completely embarrasses both the Obama Administration and ICE. And if reading this made you angry, good. Vent your frustration via Twitter and Facebook. Be active and make your voice heard. This nonsense needs to stop, and it needs to stop now.
*If you’re further interested, there’s a great–and heartbreaking– Frontline episode featuring Latino USA’s Maria Hinojosa that we recommend. You can find it here.