Consider me skeptical on this one – but the media is reporting this afternoon that a 14-year old Texas runaway was “mistakenly” deported to Colombia in 2010 and has been there ever since. Apparently, she was arrested for theft and gave a fake name, which turned out to be the name of a Colombian immigrant with an arrest warrant. Her grandmother apparently found her on Facebook of all places.
If ICE apprehends an individual and believes they have a previous removal order, that person usually doesn’t get a hearing before a judge – the prior order of removal gets “reinstated” and they get deported again. One could imagine that people slip through the cracks of this system, especially where their claim to US citizenship requires some explaining. But ICE also checks the person’s biometrics and takes a photograph of everyone it detains, to counter the use of fake names. Accidental deportations of citizens do happen, but this case would be considered unusual.