Photo by John S. Lander/LightRocket via Getty Images

With the help of senators and congressmen, Andrés Magaña Ortiz is fighting to stay in the U.S.

Kate Welsh
June 12, 2017

Donald Trump's crackdown on illegal immigration recently led to Andrés Magaña Ortiz, a 43-year-old father, husband, and Hawaiian coffee farmer known to be a "pillar of his community," being threatened with deportation. Magaña Ortiz has lived in the United States since he was 15, when he came across the Mexico-U.S. border to join his mother as a fruit picker in California. He hasn't been back to Mexico since. Hawaii's two senators and two congressman, as well as a U.S. Circuit Judge, have all voiced support for Magaña Ortiz, which led to federal officials granting him 30 more days in the country. In a month, unless he's granted permission to stay, he'll have to turn himself in to immigration authorities all over again. 

In 2014, the Obama administration gave Magaña Ortiz explicit permission to stay in the United States, so long as he continues to be an upstanding member of his community. Through his wife and children, he's been actively seeking citizenship for the last year. 

As a coffee farmer, he oversees 16 area farms. He's also worked extensively with the USDA to figure out how to contain the coffee berry borer beetle, a pest that ruins coffee plants. (Reportedly Magaña Ortiz has contained his pest problem to only 2% of his crop.) If he's deported, Magaña Ortiz's business partner Brian Landau argues that his absence will "[shoot down] the Kona coffee business." 

Senators Mazie Hirono and Brian Schatz and Congressmen Colleen Hanabusa and Tulsi Gabbard wrote an impassioned letter in support of Magaña Ortiz to John Kelly, the Secretary of Homeland Security, saying: "Mr. Magana Ortiz is an upstanding member of our community and does not belong in the category of dangerous individuals who should be prioritized for deportation... The Department has the power to keep this family together, or break this family apart."

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