Johnisa Turner, mother of mistakenly deported teen Jakadrien Turner, has filed suit against Attorney General Eric Holder and Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano over her daughter’s case of mistaken identity.
In May 2011, the 15-year-old runaway was deported to Colombia despite her lack of Spanish speaking skills and having no connection to the country. According to Turner’s lawsuit, her daughter’s deportation was the result of “intentional discrimination based on race and ethnicity” on the part of immigration officials along with “a reckless disregard for human life and liberty.”
Jakadrien’s long and confusing road to deportation began when she attempted to make her way back home to Dallas, Texas, after running away from home following the death of a grandparent. Her mother says Jakadrien was “acting out” amid her grief and was lured from home by a “child predator” that trafficked her and forced her to sell drugs.
Although the teen managed to break away, she was caught shoplifting on her way back to Dallas and lied to police, telling them her name was Tika Cortez — a name belonging to a 22-year-old Colombian woman.
“Knowing it’s commonplace for people who come in contact with ICE [Immigration and Customs Enforcement] officials to sometimes give a fake name in order to avoid more serious punishment, it is still unclear why ICE officials failed to confirm (Jakadrien’s) identity with fingerprint analysis, genetically-specific markers that suggest a person’s origin, or other methods more definitive than just having a name and no documentation proof of her alleged Colombian citizenship during these hearings,” Turner’s complaint reads. She is seeking an unspecified amount of damages as a result of the ordeal.
Jakadrien remained in Colombia for months, living in shelters until her grandmother found information on Facebook alerting the family of her whereabouts. The teen says although she has learned her lesson about lying, she maintains that she tried to inform police about her real identity.
"It's like the story of the boy that cried wolf. I've lied multiple times before. I've never been honest. I've made a lot of stories up. I made the name up 'Tika Cortez,'" Jakadrien told local news station WFAA in Feburary. "But at a certain point, I just gave up because I said it multiple times: 'I'm Jakadrien Turner, I'm 15 years old, and why am I here?'"
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(Photo: AP Photo/Mike Fuentes, File)