In April of last year, a 14-year-old girl was arrested for shoplifting. The girl, for an unknown reason, told authorities that she was a 21-year-old undocumented immigrant from Columbia. Soon after, she was deported by Immigration and Customs Enforcement following a removal proceeding.
It wasn't until January that the girl's grandmother and local police officers tracked her down and were able to bring her back to the United States. Now, the girl's family has filed a lawsuit against federal officials alleging that they violated the law by deporting the girl, who does not speak Spanish.
Apparently, the girl ran away from home in November 2011. It's unclear if she had been using the false name the entire time she was missing. The county sheriff's office said it ran the false name through available systems after the girl was arrested and no match was found. At this time, she was turned over to ICE.
ICE officials involved with the case insisted that they followed proper procedure throughout the deportation process. They said the girl identified herself with the false name and age, and she never told officials that she was an underage United States citizen.
A political science professor who is an expert on immigration issues told Fox News Latino that deportation hearings are held quickly and in groups, so it may have been hard for the teen to explain her situation to the judge who deported her. The professor said it can be hard to understand what's going on at the hearings, even for someone who speaks English.
The lawsuit was filed in federal court this week by the teen's mother. It names Attorney General Eric Holder and Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano among others as defendants, and seeks an unspecified amount in damages.
Source: Fox News Latino, "Suit Filed in Case of Texas Teen Wrongly Deported to Colombia," May 23, 2012