Hawaii island man faces deportation despite loving family, successful business

Andres Magana Ortiz and his family

A Hawaii island man fighting deportation to Mexico was dealt a heavy blow this week after a federal appeals court said it could not help him.

Andres Magana Ortiz came to the United States illegally almost 30 years ago, and has three children who were born in the U.S.

For the past decade, he has owned his own business, helping to maintain 140 acres of coffee farms in Kona.

Magana Ortiz had been trying for more than a year to obtain legal status on the basis of his wife’s and children’s citizenship, but on March 21, the government ordered him to report for removal and repeated requests for a stay were denied.

“With all of this happening, it’s very stressful and very hard (for) myself and my kids and the whole family, this whole situation, because we don’t really know what’s going to happen, so it’s very, very hard,” he said.

His oldest daughter, Victoria Magana Ledesma, turns 21 in August and attends the University of Hawaii at Hilo.

“He’s built a good reputation for being a good coffee farmer. He’s helped with the beetle borer infestation in recent years, and he’s helped a lot of farms thrive,” she said. “It’s hard for us, because he sustains the family economically, so me personally, I would have to drop out of school.”

In an opinion from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, Judge Stephen Reinhardt wrote:

“We are compelled to deny Mr. Magana Ortiz’s request for a stay of removal because we do not have the authority to grant it. We are not, however, compelled to find the government’s action in this case fair or just. …

“We are unable to prevent Magana Ortiz’s removal, yet it is contrary to the values of this nation and its legal system. 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. Magana Ortiz and his family are in truth not the only victims. Among the others are judges who, forced to participate in such inhumane acts, suffer a loss of dignity and humanity as well. I concur as a judge, but as a citizen I do not.”

Read the full opinion here.

If Magana Ortiz is deported, he will not be allowed to come back to the U.S. for 10 years.

He is scheduled to report to the Office of Homeland Security in Honolulu next week Thursday. We’ll let you know what happens.

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