jakadrien turner is finally home after being deported to columbia. i think kidnapped is a better word because you can’t be “deported” to a country where you don’t hold citizenship and have never even visited. the 15-year old’s story hit the press last week after immigration authorities released this poor child to her family.
media reports reveal she was picked up by houston law enforcement for theft and gave police a false name and id, coincidentally that of a colombian woman with warrants. after a few phone calls, jakadrien found herself in the hands of immigration and customs enforcement (ice). she was taken to columbia and given a work card to start her life in a foreign country. now, i was a pretty savvy 15-year old, but surviving after been forcibly taken to a foreign country, where i don’t speak the language, would have been most certainly outside my purview. most adults couldn’t handle this scenario.
let’s think about the things that should have raised red flags before jakadrien was kidnapped:
1. she’s black. i’m aware of columbia’s sizable black population, but generally speaking, the vast majority of colombians who immigrate to the us are of latin and/or indigenous descent. although not definitive, her race should have at least raised a red flag.
2. she’s only 15. the colombian woman who jakadrien was impersonating is 22-years old. look at the picture…now, decide for yourself if she looks 22.
3. police took her fingerprints. yet, she was still deported. obviously, ice didn’t wait for the results.
4. she doesn’t speak spanish. aside from her age, the fact this young woman doesn’t speak spanish is the most egregious fact about the entire story. if she was a colombian national, who didn’t hold us citizenship, it’s 99% likely that she would speak her native language–spanish.
these red flags were ignored because of jakadrien’s sex and race. after being picked up by houston officials, stories have since arisen that she is a “runaway” and “prostitute.” to set the record straight, a 15 year old child makes few informed choices, and prostitution is NEVER one of them. it’s clear that authorities pathologized her as an illegal, immigrant hooker who needed to return to her country. obviously a thorough investigation was outshined by their reliance upon racist and sexist stereotypes.
i won’t even get into the immigration debate–one that’s definitely a cornerstone of jakadrien’s unfortunate scenario. instead, i’ll save an analysis of this country’s discriminatory immigration policies for another day. today, let’s all be thankful that jakadrien turner is safe with her family.