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Deported teen returns to US. How many Americans are mistakenly banished?

Jakadrien Turner's deportation has shined a light on an immigration system in which mistakes can and do happen. Experts worry that the rate of mistaken deportations is on the uptick.

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Jakadrien Turner walks with her mother and grandmother at Dallas-Fort Worth Airport on Friday.

Mike Fuentes/AP

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Whether 15-year-old Dallas teen Jakadrien Turner sought deportation or got caught up in a fast-moving US immigration bureaucracy remains in question as the girl returned to the United States late Friday after an eight-month banishment to Colombia.

The girl was reunited Friday with her family for the first time since running away from her Dallas home in the fall of 2010. “She's happy to be home,” the family's attorney told reporters as Jakadrien left Dallas-Forth Worth International Airport at about 10 p.m., flanked by her family and police.

But the known facts of her case, namely that an American kid who didn't speak Spanish ended up on a plane to Colombia within six weeks of being arrested in Houston for shoplifting, are reviving questions about the frequency of mistaken or accidental deportations of US citizens. Some suggest that mistakes are on the uptick as US authorities have notched record deportation levels in recent years.

“Clearly, U.S.-born citizens can't be detained by immigration officials, much less deported by the Department of Homeland Security,” writes the Los Angeles Times in an editorial about Jakadrien's journey. “But it seems to be happening with greater frequency.”

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