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.”