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.
Ortiz, 43, who called Hawaii home, came to the U.S. at the age of 15 with his mother. He later moved to Hawaii where he began working as a migrant worker and picked coffee.
After years of hard work and struggle, Oritz managed to make a name of his own and now stands as one of the most respected coffee farmers in the Hawaiian district of Kona — that is, until his deportation order came.
Oritz had appealed his deportation order in federal court. He had been working to obtain legal citizenship for three decades. His wife and daughter, both U.S. citizens, filed for permission to let him stay in the country as the relative of a citizen. However, in March, the Department of Homeland Security ordered him to report for removal.
His lawyer appealed the order and Ortiz was granted a 30-day reprieve. He also agreed to leave the country voluntarily if it was reached.
“Very, very sad and very disappointed in many ways, but there’s not much I can do. Just follow what I have to do and hopefully, in a little bit, things can get better,” he said.
“I love this country and I love these islands. If I have to leave, it’s going to be very hard on everyone,” he added.
His daughter, Victoria Magana Ledesma, 20, said, “We said our goodbyes at home. My dad decided it was better for my brother and my sister to not go all the way to the airport.
However, she added that the family is “still fighting to get them him back here.”
“I don’t feel like it’s happening. And after so much fight that we went through, for it to just end like this. I mean, it’s not necessarily ending, but it is hard to see him go,” she added.
Ledesma added, “Financially, I don’t think we have any worries as of now. Of course, his business is what gives us stability. So the worry right now is that his business will fall through, because he is the head of it. So eventually the money will run out.”
Ortiz voluntarily booked a flight to return to his native Morelia in central Mexico, where he no longer has any family.
His case gained national attention when a 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals judge criticized the Trump administration’s order to deport him.
“President Trump has claimed that his immigration policies would target the ‘bad hombres.’ The government’s decision to remove Magana Ortiz shows that even the ‘good hombres’ are not safe,” said Judge Stephen Reinhardt in his opinion.