A Trump administration order to deport a man who entered the country illegally nearly three decades ago and became a respected businessman in Hawaii was “inhumane” and “contrary to the values of the country and its legal system,” a federal judge wrote Tuesday in an unusually impassioned opinion.
“President Trump has claimed that his immigration policies would target the ‘bad hombres,'” 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Stephen Reinhardt said. “The government’s decision to remove Magana Ortiz shows that even the ‘good hombres’ are not safe.”
Reinhardt said the 9th Circuit lacked authority to block the March order to deport Ortiz to Mexico. Still, he said it was difficult to see how the order was consistent with President Donald Trump’s promise of an immigration system with heart.
Reinhardt said Ortiz, who came to the U.S. in 1989, was well-established in Hawaii’s coffee farming industry, paid his taxes and had three U.S. citizen children from whom he would be torn away.
Nicole Navas, a U.S. Department of Justice spokeswoman, said the agency declined comment on the case.
Reinhardt is considered to be one of the most liberal judges on the 9th Circuit and his rulings often place him on the side of immigrants and prisoners. Reinhardt wrote a 2012 opinion striking down California’s gay marriage ban.
He also wrote a 1996 opinion that struck down a Washington state law that prohibited doctors from prescribing medication to help terminally ill patients die.
Reinhold joined the nation’s largest federal appeals court in 1980 after being nominated by President Jimmy Carter.
His opinion in the Ortiz case came as the U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday sided with a Mexican immigrant who faced deportation after he was convicted of having consensual sex with his underage girlfriend.
The justices ruled unanimously that Juan Esquivel-Quintana had committed a crime under California law, but his conduct did not violate federal immigration law.
Also Tuesday, a divided…