The Trump administration's decision to deport a coffee farmer in Hawaii who came to the U.S. illegally 28 years ago prompted a harsh rebuke Tuesday from a federal appeals court judge who called it inhumane.
"President Trump has claimed that his immigration policies would target the 'bad hombres,'" said Judge Stephen Reinhardt of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco. The government decision in the immigration case "shows that even the 'good hombres' are not safe."
Reinhardt's comments came as the appeals court turned down a request from Andres Magana Ortiz to delay his deportation. The judge said the court was compelled to deny the request "because we do not have the authority to grant it. We are not, however, compelled to find the government's action in this case fair or just."
Magana Ortiz, now 43, came illegally to the U.S. when he was 15 and became a coffee farmer in Hawaii's Kona region. He has three children, all of them U.S. citizens because they were born in Hawaii, and he married his current wife last year.
Immigration authorities began removal proceedings in 2011, but he was granted permission to stay. In the mean time, his wife and one of his daughters, who will soon turn 21, filed for permission to allow him to remain as the relative of a U.S. citizen.
In March, while those applications were pending, the government ordered Magana Ortiz to report for removal. He has spent the past several weeks fighting the order in court, without success. Under immigration law, he will be forbidden to return to the U.S. for ten years.
"He will be returned to Mexico, having spent 28 years successfully building a life and family in this country," Reinhardt said. "The government forces us to participate in ripping apart a family.
"I concur as a judge, but as a citizen I do not," Reinhardt concluded.