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Longtime Kona Coffee Farm Owner Loses Deportation Battle

Screenshot of Magana Ortiz from a Big Island Video News video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5VeslNO1Dcc

Hawaiian coffee farmer Andrés Magana Ortiz, who has lived in the United States for nearly 30 years since being smuggled across the U.S./Mexico border as a teenager, was deported last Friday.

Magana Ortiz’s story has made national headlines for its political implications, as federal officials have stepped up deportation efforts under the administration of President Donald Trump.

A husband of a U.S. citizen and the father of three U.S. citizen children, Magana Ortiz was smuggled into the United States at the age of 15, where he eventually purchased and operated a 20-acre coffee farm called La Molinita in Honaunau, Hawaii, while managing 15 other coffee farms. According to legal records, he has never returned to Mexico, has paid his U.S. taxes, and has even allowed the U.S. Department of Agriculture to conduct a coffee berry borer study on his farm for five years, free of charge.

Last month, as Magana Ortiz was granted a 30-day reprieve from deportation while he and his wife continued to follow the procedures to apply for his citizenship, he received public support not only from family, friends and colleagues, but from the entire Hawaiian Congressional delegation and a federal judge.

In a May 30 denial of Magana Ortiz’s appeal, US Circuit Judge Stephen Reinhardt sharply criticized the position in which the court was put by federal officials who actively pursued the deportation.

“The government’s insistence on expelling a good man from the country in which he has lived for the past 28 years deprives his children of their right to be with their father, his wife of her right to be with her husband, and our country of a productive and responsible member of our community,” he wrote, adding, “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.”

NBC affiliate KNHL spoke with Magana Ortiz at the Honolulu International Airport last Friday as he was being deported. Magana Ortiz told the network he had no known family in Mexico but planned to stay with friends while continuing to seek U.S. citizenship. From KNHL:

“Very, very sad and very disappointed in many ways, but there’s not much I can do,” he said, at Kona International Airport, after saying goodbye to his wife and three children. “Just follow what I have to do and hopefully, in a little bit, things can get better.”

Comment

8 Comments

dareisay

He had many, many years to beome a legal citizen! You have to take responsibility for your actions sometime.

ASAP

What is your point? Take responsibility for what “actions”? In the many years he was here, he was a productive and responsible member of his community. You mean those actions? The sad reality is that applying for citizenship takes years, sometimes decades. Do you know that? Not everyone is here under simple and privileged circumstances that allow for them to have everything in order. At 15, I am sure he didn’t speak an ounce of English let alone know the process of becoming a legal citizen. I do believe we have an immigration issue but deporting productive members of our society is not the answer and only hurts our society and any effort to push for better immigration laws. – ASAP

Kate

We have immigration laws….. what new laws would you like….. come here, stay here illegally and eventually you will become legal? It is not fair to those who wait in line and pay lots of $$$ to come here. Oh, well… ADIOS!!!

mrdeerants

So in 30 yrs…even after buying a coffee farm, he couldn’t afford an immigration attorney? He could have set things right with a good attorney. The problem here is that people come here & they don’t want to take responsibility. This is all promoted by factions in our govt who look the other way on purpose. So after you don’t enforce a law, people think they can get away with it.

steemit.com/@mrdeerants

Tionico

It is most likely not an issue of failing to take responsibility. His life, work, success, demonstrates pretty clearly he DOES take responsibility. NO one gets to that level of success by fobbing off responsibility, dedication, hard work. I believe it is mostly a matter of ignorance. How many reading this know what it takes to get a K Visa (married to American citizen)? I looked into it a few years ago.. its insane. But, once started, the wheels DO sort of grind… slowly, and at times need lubricated well with some fees, costs, and other forms of the classic mordita.

How many fifteen year old Yankee kids know what it takes to get a Green Card in this country? When I was 15 I didn’t even know what that was. Why should this man have known? Tell him he’s here illegally and have him scared to death for years?

US Immigratioin laws desparately need to be changed to make it far easier to get a visa if you are married to a Yanquí, or are the parent of American citizens and still part of the family. Yeah, if you’ve left the kids in Nogales Arizona and you’ve hied your sorry self off to Tucumcari, no dice. BE part of your family. THAT is the travesty of present immigration laws… no clear pathway to staying here when you’re married to a Gringo or Papa to some American kids and actively supporting them. Families being torn apart are a travesty of justice.
Now, when one reads the Constitution, there is clear authority given Federal level judges to try any given case on the basis of both LAW and FACTS. In this case, the facts are plain// he WAS here illegally. BUT, the FACTS in view are also “on the table” and that judge HAD the authority to weigh them as well. Justice is why courts exist. IS anyone harmed by his remaining? No. IS anyone harmed by his forced deprtation? YES… his three kids are now without their beloved Papa, and his Bride without her Husband. THAT is clear harm. That wimp of a judge had the authority to bang his gavel and say “this case is dismissed, with prejudice, in the interests of justice”. It is not like looking into a box and seeing if there are all the parts necessary to build a widget. Yes or no…….

This case IS troubling, and I hope it becomes high enough profile to result in some signficant changes to the laws… exceptions in cases where a deportation would do so much destruction. I know of other similar cases, as well… good friends of mine. She married a Brasilian, they tried for years and thousands of dollars to get him into the US somehow… nothing doing. So, rather than be separated from him, SHE moved to Brasil. Fair? No way. the K Visa should be a simple formality, with some safeguards to prevent abuse. Simple enough to put into place and enforce.

Tom Hall

I agree with previous responders. Although it seems asinine to punish this man, he has been living illegally for 30 years. In all that time, you couldnt take the time to file for legal citizenship?

Mary Owen

A simple fact that seems to be forgotten is that we are a nation of immigrants. Our country is not run by the native Americans who had their birthright taken away by foreign usurpers. Why are we so high and mighty about immigrants ? Pure fear of those who might be slightly different,who might not look as white as we think or speak the way we do would seem to be the case. It’s easy to criticize someone but did your relatives/ancestors have a green card? Did they have to go through all the rigamarol to live and work and raise a family only to be told to go back where you came from?
What do think the Statue of Liberty stands for? We learned in school that America was the ‘Melting Pot’. If you know what that means then you should show compassion and everyone should be treated individually . Our Immigration laws need desperate reform. We are becoming an exclusionary state.

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