State sanctioned kidnapping

State sanctioned kidnapping

by digby

The other day, I wrote about the 14 year old African American girl who was wrongly deported to Colombia (even though she doesn't even speak Spanish.) Well, she's back home now. And her case illuminates a big problem with our Immigration Bureaucracy:

The girl was reunited Friday with her family for the first time since running away from her Dallas home in the fall of 2010. “She's happy to be home,” the family's attorney told reporters as Jakadrien left Dallas-Forth Worth International Airport at about 10 p.m., flanked by her family and police.

But the known facts of her case, namely that an American kid who didn't speak Spanish ended up on a plane to Colombia within six weeks of being arrested in Houston for shoplifting, are reviving questions about the frequency of mistaken or accidental deportations of US citizens.Some suggest that mistakes are on the uptick as US authorities have notched record deportation levels in recent years.

“Clearly, U.S.-born citizens can't be detained by immigration officials, much less deported by the Department of Homeland Security,” writes the Los Angeles Times in an editorial about Jakadrien's journey. “But it seems to be happening with greater frequency.”

People who are indigent, mentally disturbed, ex-convicts, or those who were born in the US but can't easily prove it are usually the most susceptible to mistaken deportations, which in the most egregious cases critics liken to state-sanctioned kidnapping. One study published last year looking at cases in which deported Americans have later been able to prove they're US citizens contends that about 1 percent of those detained and deported in any given year are, in fact, Americans. That's about 20,000 people since 2003, it concludes.

20,000 people are a lot of people. And that doesn't even count the people who have lived here nearly their whole lives and are as "American" in identity as I am.

Any country that routinely incarcerates and deports it's most vulnerable and poor, purely because they can't prove their citizenship, is a sick country. You almost have to wonder if some of them aren't doing it on purpose.