A 15-year-old Dallas girl who ran away from home in the fall of 2010 has finally turned up in what's pretty much the last place you'd expect to find her. Jakadrien Turner is now locked up in a Colombian prison, the country is refusing to send her back to the U.S., and she may be pregnant. Even more incredibly, Turner didn't manage to slip out of the country on her own. She was sent to Colombia by the U.S. government after giving police officers a fake name, which actually belongs to an illegal immigrant.
According to CBS News, Turner ran away from home when she was 14, supposedly because she was upset about her parents' divorce and her grandfather's death. Eventually she ended up in Houston and was arrested for theft. When police ran the fake name, they learned she was a 22-year-old illegal immigrant from Colombia who had warrants out for her arrest. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) took over the case, and in April 2011 she was shipped off to Colombia, where she was issued a work card and released.
The girl's grandmother, Lorene Turner, tells local TV station WFAA that she's been searching for her on Facebook since her disappearance. She managed to track down her granddaughter with help from police, and says that online the girl, "Talked about how they had her working in this big house cleaning all day, and how tired she was." A month ago U.S. authorities asked to pick her up at the embassy in Colombia, but she's still being held in a detention facility and Colombian officials refuse to release her.
ICE says it's investigating the incident and "takes these allegations very seriously." The case is now getting national attention and WFAA reports that the NAACP and other civil rights leaders plan to brief President Obama and the Congressional Black Caucus on the problem today. ICE officials attempted to defend their colossal mistake, pointing out that sometimes people purposely provide immigration officials with a false name. There's probably more to the case than Turner simply running off because she was upset about some family issues, and she could have stopped the deportation if she gave authorities her real name. However, a teenage girl can't be blamed for this mess. It's unbelievable that no one at ICE thought it was fishy that their 22-year-old Colombian immigrant didn't speak a lick of Spanish and looked an awful lot like a 14-year-old African American girl. Apparently the agency doesn't work that hard to confirm people's identities, so if you're looking for free airfare for your next vacation, just think up a Frenchy name, turn yourself in, and wait to be shipped off to Paris.