A number of high-level officials in Washington, D.C., have been named as defendants in an immigration lawsuit challenging one teenager’s deportation. The then 14-year-old girl was arrested at a mall in her home state when police suspected her of shoplifting. According to law enforcement, she provided them with a false name, claiming to be from another country. Immigration and Customs Enforcement then placed her in deportation proceedings, and she was deported last year, still only 14 years old.
According to immigration authorities, the girl claimed that she was a citizen of a foreign country and never asserted that she was a citizen of the United States. Authorities said that they could find nothing during their investigations that disconfirmed the girl’s story. When the girl was arrested, she was in the process of running away from her mother, who lived in a different city in another part of the state.
She eventually was returned to the United States after law enforcement and family members located her abroad. The lawsuit, filed by the girl’s mother, alleges that current immigration practices violate due process and impermissibly discriminate on the basis of ethnicity and race. The suit seeks damages in the amount of $15 million.
It has been stated before that immigration authorities are stepping up deportations. Being removed from the country can have serious consequences for anyone, but particularly for a young teenage girl who, for a reason currently unknown, told police that she was a foreign national. It is important for immigrants to know the rights that can help them fight deportation.
Source: The Washington Post, “Mother of Dallas teen runaway files lawsuit saying daughter was wrongly detained, deported,” May 23, 2012.