Big Island coffee farmer given 30-day deportation reprieve
Posted June 9
Melody Gonzales — The government gave Andres Magana Ortiz 30 more days in the U.S, but there is a possibility the father of three could still be sent back to Mexico.
Magana Ortiz surrendered at a Homeland Security office, Thursday morning, but instead of being deported immediately he was given 30-day reprieve.
"It's a little bit of relief.. I don't say it's really a victory yet," Magana Ortiz said.
According to his Attorney, he'll be forced to return to Mexico by the end of those 30 days, unless the government intervenes.
"He's agreed to leave voluntarily at the end of that period of time, at his own expense. They understand that we are working on a stay and we have measures. We have Hawaii Delegation helping us to resolve the issues as a matter of legislation," said his attorney James Stanton.
Magana Ortiz came into the United States illegally in 1989, when he was just 15-years-old.
Now, more than three decades later, he is a successful coffee farm owner on the Big Island.
In the recent years, he's tried to get legal status based on his wife's status as a U.S. citizen, but so far that hasn't been granted.
"The government has the power to prevent this family from being torn apart," Senator Mazie Hirono said, when addressing the case on the Senate floor Thursday.
Sen. Hirono is urging Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly to use his authority to allow Magana Ortiz's to remain in the U.S.
"Secretary Kelly, I renew our call once more: Let Andres stay in our country, let his children have a father present and active in their lives. It's not too late to keep this family together," Sen. Hirono said.
Other members of Hawaii's Congressional Delegation also expressed their support, urging the federal government to let Magana Ortiz stay in the islands.
"While today's 30-day reprieve is a positive step, it does not resolve the underlying issues. I'll continue to push legislative and other avenues to assist Mr. Ortiz and his family in their efforts to remain in the Kona community he has called home for nearly three decades." - Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02) said in a statement
"You have the power to grant a stay of relief. I further urge you to expedite his wife's I-130 petition so that this family can remain intact. " - State Senator Lorraine Inouye said in a letter to DHS Secretary John Kelly
As for the successful Hawaii businessman, it's difficult for him to imagine what it'll be like if he loses this fight.
"We don't want to think that-- We want to think that something is going to happen," Magana Ortiz said.
If deported, once Magana Ortiz leaves the country it's a possibility that he wont be able to come back to the U.S. for 10-years.