A Federal Judge Slams Trump: “Even the ‘Good Hombres’ Are Not Safe”

A fiery opinion denounces a deportation for “ripping apart a family.”

Today, a federal appeals court judge in California rebuked the Trump administration for its zealous deportation policy and for “ripping apart a family.” Judge Stephen Reinhardt of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals found that he had no power to stop the removal of Andres Magana Ortiz, but nevertheless took the time to write a short opinion blasting his deportation as “inhumane.”

“We are unable to prevent Magana Ortiz’s removal, yet it is contrary to the values of this nation and its legal system,” Reinhardt wrote in a six-page concurring opinion. “Indeed, the government’s decision to remove Magana Ortiz diminishes not only our country but our courts, which are supposedly dedicated to the pursuit of justice…I concur as a judge, but as a citizen I do not.”

As Reinhardt detailed in his opinion, Magana Ortiz came to the United States from Mexico 28 years ago, built a family and a career, and paid his taxes. His wife and three children are American citizens. His only legal transgressions were two DUIs, the last one 14 years ago. “[E]ven the government conceded during the immigration proceedings that there was no question as to Magana Ortiz’s good moral character,” Reinhardt noted. Nonetheless, in March the government decided to deny Magana Ortiz’s application for a stay of removal while he applied for legal residency status, a process that is still underway, and moved to deport him to Mexico.

Reinhardt took particular aim at the fact, demonstrated repeatedly in the first months of Donald Trump’s presidency, that the administration’s immigration crackdown is not only targeting violent criminals. “President Trump has claimed that his immigration policies would target the ‘bad hombres,'” he wrote. “The government’s decision to remove Magana Ortiz shows that even the ‘good hombres’ are not safe. Magana Ortiz is by all accounts a pillar of his community and a devoted father and husband. It is difficult to see how the government’s decision to expel him is consistent with the President’s promise of an immigration system with ‘a lot of heart.’ I find no such compassion in the government’s choice to deport Magana Ortiz.”

Fear and Hope

Fear
The intensity of the situation continues to weigh on our immigrant brothers and sisters. We’re hearing stories of kids afraid that they will come home from school to find their parents gone, parents afraid to send their kids to school, people afraid to go to the store to buy food, people not showing up to appointments with service providers – all because of the fear that has been generated by the administration’s executive orders and resulting policies.
Hope
While we can’t discount those fears, we can do something to help people. Since the beginning of February we have given eight Know Your Rights and Family Preparedness workshops covering 573 attendees in Jefferson, Kitsap and Mason counties. By helping people understand their rights under our constitution, we give them some power when they are confronted by ICE. This knowledge may also help to defend them if they are placed in removal proceedings. By helping them plan, we give them some control over what will happen with their kids and assets if they are detained or deported. We don’t enjoy doing these workshops but they are a necessary and important part of our advocacy.
As we do these workshops we’re meeting lots of people who want to help. Groups are starting up in Jefferson, Kitsap, and Mason counties to support and advocate for their immigrant sisters and brothers. We’re inspired by the response of people who want to organize around immigrant advocacy. We’re meeting with these groups to help them organize and provide training and support.
We are also heartened that several groups are contacting their elected representatives to encourage them to state their support for diversity in our communities by passing Welcoming Community resolutions. It certainly seems like citizen participation is on the rise.
Five dedicated volunteers have just completed the comprehensive overview of immigration law and we expect to apply for their accreditation by the end of the month. This will greatly increase our ability to serve.
So, despite the attempts by some to drive us apart, I am seeing our community respond with energy, support and love. This is what will keep us together and get us through this challenge.
As always we need your support to continue this work. Please consider donating.

KIAC Update 2-19-17

We now have a clear idea of what life will be like for our immigrant and refugee sisters and brothers under this new administration. I’m sure you’ve heard about the ICE raids across the country. Closer to home reports have increased about ICE presence in our area.
Your offers of support whether through volunteering or financial donations are very much appreciated and enable us to continue our work.

Earlier this year I shared with you our planned positive steps to support and advocate for immigrants in our community. Here are some of the activities we are accomplishing.

We are building coalitions among immigrant, refugee and Muslim-serving organizations, including partnerships with labor unions, school administrators and educators, social service providers, local governments, businesses, elected allies, and progressive leaders within the LGBTQ, environmental, racial justice and women’s movements. Some examples are our partnership with Goodwill. We’ll conduct Know Your Rights workshops and legal clinics for their students beginning in March. We’re partnering with the YWCA to promote social justice here in our community. And we started working with Jefferson County’s new Immigrant Rights Group to support their advocacy activities.

Our Family Services and Legal Services staff and volunteers are conducting Know Your Rights presentations in schools, churches, and community centers throughout Thurston, Mason, Kitsap, and Jefferson counties. This information helps people understand their rights and how to exercise them. We also talk about family emergency plans to help them plan for themselves, their families, and their children in the event of an ICE raid or their being placed in detention.

Our legal team helps Legal Permanent Residents prepare and apply for citizenship. Many of them are understandably concerned about their status and want to protect themselves. In general, we are contacted by many people reacting to the fear generated by the administration’s recent actions. We are preparing to increase our capacity by becoming able to represent people in immigration court. People with representation, especially children, have a five times better chance of not being deported. Representation is key.

We have presented draft Welcoming Community resolutions to Kitsap city and county governments and actively advocate for them to pass these resolutions. Becoming a more welcoming community means more customers for our local businesses, more jobs created by immigrant entrepreneurs, and a thriving economy that benefits us all.
By recognizing the contributions that we all make to creating a vibrant culture and a growing economy, we make our neighbors feel more included and our community more welcoming to new Americans and to everyone who calls our community home.

We remain committed to our mission to empower, educate, and integrate immigrants through advocacy and social justice.

We are all responsible to uphold basic human values of civility and justice. The current administration will be gone one day and our communities will still be here striving to make our counties and our nation stronger, more welcoming and more just.

We appreciate and need your continued support. Although much of our work is done by volunteers we still need financial support to continue. To make donations click here. If you make your donation recurring it will help even more.

Ray Garrido
Legal Services Director

PS – don’t forget our April 1st benefit – Evita. Click here for more information

Serving our sisters and brothers in the immigrant community