i am

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harlem, usa
same-gender-loving contemporary descendant of enslaved africans. community activist, feminist, health educator, independent filmmaker, mentor, playwright, poet & spiritual being. featured at, in & on africana.com, afrikan poetry theatre, angel herald, bejata dot com, bet tonight with tavis smiley, blacklight online, black noir, brooklyn moon cafe, gmhc's barbershop, klmo-fm, lgbt community services center, longmoor productions, nuyorican poets cafe, our corner, poz, pulse, rolling out new york, rush arts gallery, saint veronica's church, schomburg center for research in black culture, sexplorations, the citizen, the new york times, the soundz bar, the trenton times, the village voice, upn news, uzuri, venus, vibe, wbai-fm, wnyc-fm & wqht-fm. volunteered with adodi, bailey house, inc., black men's xchange-new york, colorofchange.org, drug policy alliance, east harlem tutorial program, imagenation film & music festival, presente.org, save darfur coalition, the enough project, the osborne association, the sledge group & your black world. worked on films with maurice jamal & heather murphy. writing student of phil bertelsen & ed bullins. mjt975@msn.com.

Friday, January 06, 2012

Deportation of U.S. Teenager to Colombia Latest Failure of Immigration System

the family of a dallas, texas teenager, jakadrien turner, is demanding answers after she was deported to colombia, despite the fact that she's a u.s. citizen who doesn't speak spanish.

turner, a 15 year-old african-american runaway, was living in houston when she was arrested for shoplifting in the spring of last year. she gave police a fake name belonging to a 22 year-old undocumented immigrant from colombia with warrants for her arrest.

the immigration & customs enforcement agency (ice) reportedly discovered turner's fingerprints did not match those of the colombia nattional's, yet deported her anyway. "the country has no idea that we have a rogue police force. that police force is called ice," says ralph isenberg, a dallas businessman who advocates for immigrants.

dallas reverend peter johnson, a longtime civil rights advocate who has worked with the turner family, echoes isenberg's sentiments. said johnson, "i'm hoping that black america - who have a history of understanding the destruction of our families, because of what slavery has done to our families - will at some point wake up & understand that the problem of immigrants is something we can not ignore."

jacqueline stevens, a political science professor at northwestern university, recently published an exhaustive report on u.s. citizens who have been detained & deported. she says deportation is only the latest example of a failed immigration system.

turner has been in bogota, colombia since april 2011. it is only now, after tireless efforts of her grandmother, are we hearing about this horrific story. as such, president obama's immigration & deportation polices have come under intense media scrutiny, particularly so in, this, an election year.

according to pew research center, almost 60% of latinos oppose the obama administration's deportation policies. while republicans claim democrats are "soft" on immigration, the obama administration has deported 30% more undocumented immigrants annually than during the second term of george w. bush.

despite such cultural dissatisfaction with obama's deportation policies, polling doesn't show the latino vote is in jeopardy with the personable commander-in-chief. obama still beats his performance among latino voters when compared to his share of that electorate in 2008. also, there are one million more registered latino voters than there were four years ago.

with republicans focused on securing the border & democrats focused on a path to citizenship, the immigration debate for policy priority remains ongoing. while deportations may not be a deciding factor on who occupies the white house, the issue will get a lot of attention in the coming weeks. the naacp & the cbc have called upon the obama administration to help assist in the immediate release & return of jakadrien turner from colombia.

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