There was no fight, no resistance, no struggle.
Andres Magana Ortiz, 43, accepted the Department of Homeland Security (DHS)’s decree, and volunteered to return to Mexico, which he left at age 15 after being smuggled into the United States to be with his mother.
After the DHS rejected Ortiz’s lawyer’s petition for legal status, Ortiz said farewell to his wife, a US citizen, and three children Friday, to return to a country he scarcely knew, where he no longer has family.
“Very, very sad and very disappointed in many ways, but there’s not much I can do. Just follow what I have to do and hopefully, in a little bit, things can get better.”
Ortiz had been working to obtain legal citizenship for almost thirty years. His daughter, a U.S. citizen, recently filed for permission to allow him to stay in the US on the basis that she, her mother, and siblings are citizens. In March, while those applications were pending, the government ordered Ortiz deported.
Hawaii’s congressional delegation even lobbied for Ortiz.
Ortiz gained national attention in May when lawyers appealed in San Francisco’s Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. Judge Stephen Reinhardt called the Trump administration’s decision to deport Ortiz “inhumane.”
“President Trump has claimed that his immigration policies would target the ‘bad hombres. The government decision in the immigration case shows that even the ‘good hombres’ are not safe.”
Regardless, Reinhardt was forced to uphold the deportation decision because:
“We do not have the authority to grant it. He will be returned to Mexico, having spent 28 years successfully building a life and family in this country. The government forces us to participate in ripping apart a family.”
Ortiz may not be allowed to return to his family for a decade.
On the campaign trail and shortly after taking office, President Donald Trump insisted he was only going to deport the “bad hombres.” Many believed him. Unfortunately, it appears those on the other side who did not believe him were correct.
Immigration lawyers from coast to coast are reporting individuals , like Ortiz, who pose no risk, with minimal or no criminal records, being targeted for deportation.
Over 90 percent of removal proceedings in the first two months of Trump’s tenure have been against people who have committed no crime other than living in the country undocumented. Early figures on deportation arrests show the number of people arrested without criminal records has doubled.
The so-called “bad hombres” are even being rounded up for minor misdemeanors, like traffic tickets.
A mainstay of President Trump’s rhetoric during his campaign was that undocumented immigrants pose a higher risk to public safety. According to the New York Times, however, several studies conducted over many years have concluded immigrants are less likely to commit crimes than people born in the United States, and that available evidence does not support the idea that undocumented immigrants commit a disproportionate share of crime.
Apparently, Trump’s connotation of “bad hombres” is markedly different from most others’.
Featured image via screen grab from KHON2 video.