Human faces show agony of deportation
An illegal immigrant working as a waiter on Maui faces deportation to his native Mexico.
THE persistence of Jose Antonio Martinez-Tinoco in illegally entering the United States after twice being tossed back to his native Mexico might seem egregious, but the consequences of his third deportation
can be severe for his family on Maui. Their story cries out for immigration reform to end the uncertainty shared by millions of illegal immigrants.
Martinez-Tinoco, 38, had been working as a waiter at a restaurant when he was arrested outside his family's Honokowai apartment this month as part of an immigration sweep on Maui. Although his wife, Tamarra, and two young daughters are U.S. citizens, a 1996 law prompts his third deportation and forbids his return.
The law gives the immigration service flexibility if it can be proven that his permanent removal "would result in exceptional and extremely unusual hardship to a spouse, parent or child" who are U.S. citizens. Tamarra Martinez, a restaurant manager, said the family probably will need to rely on food stamps to make ends meet. The decision to deport him cannot be appealed to the courts.
"That's very, very harsh," the wife told the Star-Bulletin's Gary Kubota. "Cases of immigration are not black and white." Previous deportations make the case of Martinez-Timoco at least dark gray, while other illegal immigrants will be given an advantage from immigration reform by not having been caught.
The United States is such an economic magnet that an estimated 12 million people have crossed the Mexican border illegally to reap the benefits. Their labor has benefited the country, and they deserve legal status and a path to citizenship, while increased border enforcement prevents a repeat of sad stories.
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