A federal judge in California blasted the Trump administration’s “inhumane” immigration policies, criticizing the government’s decision to deport a Mexican national who has lived in the United States for over two decades.
Judge Stephen Reinhardt, a liberal firebrand of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, lamented in a short but excoriating concurrence that his court had no power to stop the deportation of Magana Ortiz, an undocumented immigrant he characterized as a “good hombre.”
“President Trump has claimed that his immigration policies would target the ‘bad hombres,'” he wrote, in reference to remarks Trump made during the 2016 third presidential debate. “The government’s decision to remove Magana Ortiz shows that even the ‘good hombres’ are not safe.”
Though Ortiz entered the country unlawfully and had two convictions for DUI in the distant past, the government did not dispute that he is a person of strong moral character — he is married with three children (all U.S. citizens) and is well established in Hawaii’s coffee farming industry. Reindhardt’s opinion noted that Ortiz allowed the Department of Agriculture to use his land for a five year study without charge.
The judge went on to say that case was an indignity to both the Ortiz family and the federal courts.
“Magana Ortiz and his family are in truth not the only victims. Among the others are judges who, forced to participate in such inhumane acts, suffer a loss of dignity and humanity as well. I concur as a judge, but as a citizen I do not.”
Ortiz’s deportation proceedings began during the Obama administration in 2014. The government agreed to stay his deportation, so he pursue a legalized immigration status. However, the government reversed its position without explanation in March, and elected to deport him. The reason for the government’s reversal remains unclear, as administration filings in the case are not part of the public record.
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