KONA, HAWAII (HawaiiNewsNow) - A Kona coffee farmer whose fight against deportation has played out publicly in recent weeks is thanking Hawaii residents and lawmakers for their support.
In a letter addressed "to the people of Hawaii," Andres Magana – a Mexican national who has made a living and raised his family on Hawaii Island for years – expressed gratitude to those who have supported his efforts to remain in the United States.
"I have no words to say mahalo for showing myself and my family love, compassion and pure aloha during these difficult months," Magana wrote.
Magana was smuggled into the U.S. at just 15 years old, landing in Kona in 1989 to take a job picking coffee. Nearly three decades later, Magana has a wife and three children, along with a coffee-growing operation of his own.
Immigration policies enacted by President Trump's administration are attempting to force the 43-year-old to return to Mexico, though many – including members of Hawaii's Congressional delegation – have lobbied for him to stay.
"Your encouragement brightens my day when dark clouds loom," said Magana. "I love this country and I love these islands. I hope I can keep calling Hawaii my home for a long time and see my children have their own children and take them surfing and learn the rich traditions of this sacred land."
Earlier this month, Magana was given a 30-day repreieve from deportation. The time is meant to allow the Department of Homeland Security to consider a petition that would give Magana legal status in the United States.
To the people of Hawaii,
I have been so touched and humbled with your countless gestures of support during this experience. I have no words to say mahalo for showing myself and my family love, compassion and pure aloha during these difficult months.
It is true I was born in Mexico, but I have lived in America for a longer time of my life and my values and form of thinking align more with this wonderful country. What other country can afford a migrant child the opportunity and freedom to grow up to become a business owner and a caring member of his community?
This is especially true and magnified in the state of Hawaii, where I have been shown the real meaning of aloha and its ohana has embraced myself and my family to make us feel wanted and loved.
While my case is still ongoing and uncertain, I wake up everyday grateful to God for allowing me another day here, in the islands, and to be able to take care of my loving family.
I would like to say mahalo to the Hawaii delegation in Washington D.C., to the office of U.S. Senator Mazie Hirono, to whom I wish a speedy recovery and personally spoke about my case on both the senate floor and to Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly. Mahalo also to U.S. Senator Brian Schatz, U.S. Representative Colleen Hanabusa and special thanks to the office of U.S. Representative Tulsi Gabbard for your tireless work into my case. I will never be able to repay all of you for your kindness and care.
I am also extremely grateful to all of the coffee farm owners and workers for their support during this matter. Your encouragement brightens my day when dark clouds loom.
I will continue to keep a positive outlook to my situation and pray that the Lord keeps my family together. I love this country and I love these islands. I hope I can keep calling Hawaii my home for a long time and see my children have their own children and take them surfing and learn the rich traditions of this sacred land.
Your support and love keeps my hope alive and spirit unwavering. Today, I want to say how lucky I feel to be a member of this wonderful community of islands and that I can continue working an honest job growing coffee for the people of Hawaii.
With a heartfelt and humble mahalo,
Andres Magaña Ortiz