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Hawaii delegation urges halt to deportation of Big Isle farmer

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Hawaii’s congressional delegation is urging U.S. Department of Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly to stop the deportation of a Big Island coffee farmer.

Andres Magana Ortiz is ordered to report to U.S. immigration officials in Honolulu on Thursday with a bag packed to return to Mexico, his immigration attorney James Stanton said.

The delegation’s letter today to Kelly asks him to exercise his prosecutorial discretion to allow him to remain in Hawaii, where is a coffee farmer on the Big Island and married to a U.S. citizen.

“We agree that persons that pose a threat to national security and public safety should be a priority for deportation proceedings. However, Mr. Magana Ortiz poses no such threat to national security or public safety and therefore should not be a priority for removal,” said the letter signed by U.S. Sen. Mazie Hirono, U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz, U.S. Rep. Colleen Hanabusa and U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard. “Rather, it is in our national interest for Mr. Magana Ortiz to remain in the United States where he can continue to work, pay taxes and raise a family.”

Magana Ortiz entered Arizona illegally in 1989 when he was 15, Stanton said. His wife is petitioning for him to become a legal permanent resident. The delegation’s letter also asks that a review of her petition be expedited.

His case gained attention after a 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals judge criticized the Trump administration’s order to deport him. However, the court lacked authority to block the order.

“President Trump has claimed that his immigration policies would target the ‘bad hombres,’ ” Judge Stephen Reinhardt said in an opinion issued last week. “The government’s decision to remove Magana Ortiz shows that even the ‘good hombres’ are not safe.”

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