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ICE deports 14-year-old U.S. citizen without checking her identity

A 14-year-old United States citizen grew distraught in 2010 after her grandfather died and her parents divorced. The young teenager ran away from home. The teenager's grandmother tried everything she could think of in an effort to locate her granddaughter. She spent nights on the Internet, hoping to find a clue as to the whereabouts of her runaway granddaughter. Local police in the grandmother's hometown eventually helped to locate the young runaway U.S. citizen.

The young girl was located in Columbia. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement sent the African-American 14-year-old, who does not speak a word of Spanish, to Columbia. ICE mistakenly deported the U.S. Citizen in the belief that the 14-year-old was a 22-year-old undocumented immigrant from Columbia. Apparently, even though ICE took the young American's fingerprints, ICE neglected to check those fingerprints to confirm the girl's identity before deporting the U.S. citizen.

The young citizen's troubles with ICE began after she was arrested for theft. The teenager gave police a false name in a southern U.S. state. The name the 14-year-old used matched that of an undocumented 22-year-old Columbian national who reportedly had warrants out for her arrest. The U.S deported the young runaway without cross-checking her identity through her fingerprints against the fingerprints of the woman wanted on several warrants.

Officials at the U.S. Embassy in Columbia apparently later asked police in Columbia to pick up the U.S. Citizen. They apparently did so, and now the teenager is being held in a detention center in Columbia. News reports say that Columbian officials have held the teen in custody for weeks and refuse to release her so that the wrongfully deported citizen can return to the U.S.

The Director of Public Affairs for ICE says, " At the direction of [the Department of Homeland Security], ICE is fully and immediately investigating this matter in order to expeditiously determine the facts of this case."

Source: WFAA, "Dallas Teen Missing Since 2010 was Mistakenly Deported," Rebecca Lopez, Jan. 3, 2012

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