Obama Promised Admin Would Not Indefinitely Detain American Citizens without Trial, But Continues to Deport Them

On New Year’s Eve, President Obama promised that his “Administration will not authorize the indefinite military detention without trial of American citizens.”

But his Administration continues to deport them.

Consider the example of Jakadrian Turner, the 15 year old African American girl who spoke no Spanish but was deported to Colombia in April.

[After running away from home in Dallas] Jakadrien somehow ended up in Houston, where she was arrested by Houston police for theft. She gave Houston police a fake name. When police in Houston ran that name, it belonged to a 22-year-old illegal immigrant from Columbia, who had warrants for her arrest.

So ICE officials stepped in.

News 8 has learned ICE took the girl’s fingerprints, but somehow didn’t confirm her identity and deported her to Colombia, where the Colombian government gave her a work card and released her.

“She talked about how they had her working in this big house cleaning all day, and how tired she was,” Turner said.

Now some might blame this girl for giving the cops a false name–though pictures suggest she still looks like a teenager, so that itself is problematic.

But what this demonstrates is how low the due process requirements are on ICE deportations. Not her fingerprints, not her lack of identification, not her youth, not even basic common sense prevented her from getting deported to a country to which she had no tie.

And for all the solace that Defense Authorization supporters took (naively, I maintain) in habeas corpus, in a country where citizens can be deported based on gross error, in a country where this is not an isolated incident, that doesn’t amount to much.

Marcy has been blogging full time since 2007. She’s known for her live-blogging of the Scooter Libby trial, her discovery of the number of times Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was waterboarded, and generally for her weedy analysis of document dumps.

Marcy Wheeler is an independent journalist writing about national security and civil liberties. She writes as emptywheel at her eponymous blog, publishes at outlets including the Guardian, Salon, and the Progressive, and appears frequently on television and radio. She is the author of Anatomy of Deceit, a primer on the CIA leak investigation, and liveblogged the Scooter Libby trial.

Marcy has a PhD from the University of Michigan, where she researched the “feuilleton,” a short conversational newspaper form that has proven important in times of heightened censorship. Before and after her time in academics, Marcy provided documentation consulting for corporations in the auto, tech, and energy industries. She lives with her spouse and dog in Grand Rapids, MI.

22 replies
  1. Greg Brown says:

    Clicking through to the NPR story, to my astonishment, I found this: “A record 396,000 people were deported from the country during the federal fiscal year that just ended” and the story of George Ibarra.

    Mr. Ibarra is an international job-creator repeatedly creating legal, judicial and/or penal activity in two countries.

    396,000 people deported? Think of all of the jobs illegal entrants create! It’s not an invasion, it’s the sound of economic opportunities.

    ;-)

  2. emptywheel says:

    @Greg Brown: Actually not a joke at all. The reason we’re deporting 400,000 a year is because Congress has mandated the number. Which surely leads to “mistakes” like this.

    And yes, there are contractors involved.

  3. emptywheel says:

    @bmaz: Well, and why not? We render teenagers too. Just so long as they’re brown-skinned we seem to have no problem with it.

  4. pdaly says:

    She is only 15? What a crazy story.

    Can’t her parents sue? based on international or interstate trafficking of minors laws?

  5. emptywheel says:

    @pdaly: Sounds like her grandmother may have custody. In any case, she’s still in Colombian custody. She needs to be brought back to US first.

  6. pdaly says:

    @emptywheel:

    I was just reading the link you provided. Sounds like Colombia doesn’t want to release her right away.

    Since she’s been employed in Colombia, presumably she’s received a paycheck. I hope that the US doesn’t now investigate the girl for tax evasion–earning a salary abroad and not filing a US tax return.

    On edit: well, I guess she has until April 2012 to file such a tax return. She didn’t get deported to Colombia until April 2011. /snark

  7. Gitcheegumee says:

    Police Brutality Alive and Well in Houston: Teen Battered [Video …my.firedoglake.com/…/police-brutality-alive-and-well-in-houston-tee…

    Feb 5, 2011 – And Houston’s so-called finest are kicking him while he is down on the … Police brutality is police brutality no matter where it occurs. … and one Mexican- American young man whose crime seems to have been breathing. … “More than 300 women were murdered in Ciudad Juarez in a wave of violence …

    NOTE: this is a piece from about a year ago,by Rayne, about violence toward a 15 year old Houston teen.

    Sad indictment that deportation could theoretically be considered a more humane alternative…especially for a young female.

    BTW, whatever happened to Rayne?

  8. Gitcheegumee says:

    @emptywheel:

    Thnx so much for the update.

    Gee, maybe there should be a special New Year’s “trash” column, “Where are they now “?

    Then the MIA could chime in, should they so choose. I still miss Sara,btw.

  9. shekissesfrogs says:

    same problem here:
    LA county ID errors put hundreds in County Jail
    Wrongful incarcerations totaled 1,480 in the last five years, a Times inquiry finds.

    “It’s bureaucratic sloth and indifference,” said attorney Donald W. Cook…”They don’t want to take the heat for letting someone go who a cop has decided, no matter how tentatively, is the subject of a warrant.”[…]

    Sheriff’s officials said they are bombarded with false innocence claims from inmates. It would be impossible to check every claim, they said, and jailers’ authority to release an inmate ordered detained by a judge is limited.

    “People lie to us about who they are all the time,” said sheriff’s Cmdr. David Fender.

    Better a hundred are innocents are jailed than let one guilty go free…
    Are they paid by the piece?

  10. Gitcheegumee says:

    WHY does this thread put me in mind of teh Frontline episode last night entitled Opium Brides,about druglords kidnapping young females and transporting them to other locales for $$$ ransom?

    ANYbody see that program but moi?

  11. Gitcheegumee says:

    Police kill armed teen student at Texas school

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/45870968/ns/us_news-crime_and_courts/

    BROWNSVILLE, Texas — Police shot and killed an armed 15-year-old student at a middle school in South Texas on Wednesday morning. No one else was injured.

    Brownsville police detective J.J. Trevino said police got a call about 8 a.m. Wednesday that there was an individual with a weapon at Cummings Middle School. They found the 8th-grade student in a hallway and shot him.

    The shooting remains under investigation. Brownsville is 280 miles south of San Antonio on the southern tip of Texas.

  12. earlofhuntingdon says:

    In a sane world, the officials who deported an American citizen teenager to a country to which she demonstrably had no ties would be reprimanded, demoted or sacked. The processes they followed would be overhauled like a carrier about to be sent to the Coral Sea, since on its proper functioning rest thousands of lives. Inside the Beltway, after the yawns over this miscarriage of justice and due process will come promotion and citation “for doing a job well under trying circumstances”.

    Let’s hope I’m wrong. Let’s hope that this young woman’s congresscritters are screaming for competence and fair treatment for her and for everyone “processed” by ICE. Let’s hope that public apologies and compensation – concepts the Canadian and British governments still hold dear – are resurrected in the American bureaucratic vocabulary.

    The bottom line is that this is another process problem that ought to be laid at Mr. Obama’s feet. He hasn’t made federal agencies, their staffing, procedures and budgets, the most minimal of priorities.

    In fact, many of his agencies flounder because he hasn’t worked to select and put in place successor managers for them. In many cases, they are still run by Bush appointees, by those seconded from industries the agencies purport to oversee, and by those bent on privatizing their functions and then joining outsourced firms at whopping salaries.

    Imagine the furor if a top talent scout for a pro ball club spent all his time selling his club’s best talent to a competitor and then joined that competitor at double or five times the salary. Imagine the lengths a car company would go, has gone to, in order to crush a top executive who joined a competitor, and took his best managers and copies of its latest car model.

    Like Mr. Bush, Mr. Obama seems to think that actually running the government is not part of his job. He thinks his job is limited to competing for that job, not doing it. The difference is that Mr. Cheney knew Mr. Bush was an empty suit. He usurped his authority and ran the government. Perverse as his priorities were, he took command. Mr. Biden, on the other hand, would never dream of parking in the wrong slot, let alone engage in something more adventurous.

    Mr. Bush thought doing nothing was his job; he thought that letting his underling politically cuckold him was a brilliant delegation of authority. Mr. Obama and Mr. Biden seem to think that doing nothing to manage their government is an admirable way not to “squander their political capital”. Tell that to a 15-year girl, who doesn’t speak Spanish, set loose in Colombia.

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