09 January 2012

US teen's deportation deception drama finally draws to an end

A US teen deported to Colombia in May 2011 after claiming to be an illegal immigrant - despite not being able to speak Spanish has finally been reunited with her family.

American visa

15 year old Jakadrien Lorece Turner was deported to Colombia for not having a US visa after giving a fake name.

After running away from home in November 2010 following her grandfather's death and her parents' turbulent divorce, 15 year old Jakadrien Lorece Turner was arrested in Houston, Texas in April 2011 for a misdemeanour theft charge. Instead of giving the authorities her real name, she told them her name was Tika Lanay Cortez, a 21 year old Colombian without a US visa.

When all the identity checks came back negative, the county sheriff's office handed her over to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). ICE maintain that Turner persisted with her claims that she was Cortez as she was ordered deported by a judge as part of a program to remove foreign nationals from US prisons.

Turner was then interviewed by a representative at the Colombian Consulate and, despite not being able to speak Spanish, was issued Colombian travel documents, placed in the country's 'Welcome Home' program and provided with shelter and medical help.

After securing a job in a call centre, Turner updated her Facebook status, bragging about her new life in Colombia. This caught the attention of the girl's grandmother who, after months of fruitless searching alerted the US immigration authorities and began the process of bringing her home.

Now, after eight months in Colombia, Turner has returned to Texas where her family are said to be "ecstatic" to have her home. The family's attorney Ray Jackson said that Turner herself was "happy to be home" and that the family plan to "do what we can to make sure she gets back to a normal life".

The American Visa Bureau is an independent migration consultancy specialising in helping people with their ESTA visa application.

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