Kona family faces uncertainty following father's deportation

Kona family faces uncertainty following father's deportation
(Image: Hawaii News Now)
(Image: Hawaii News Now)

KONA, HAWAII (HawaiiNewsNow) - A Kona farmer forced to leave the islands on Friday will be landing in Mexico on Saturday night.

Andres Magana, 43, left on a flight traveling from Kona International Airport to San Francisco Friday, then boarded another plane to Houston.

His eldest daughter said he will be settling in the small town of Morelia, Mexico until applications for legal status are approved.

Until then, the family is uncertain how to move forward.

"We've gone through this situation for a while and it just never came to this point and now that he's gone, it's really scary," Victoria Magana-Ledesma said, Magana's 20-year-old daughter.

Magana's attorney, Jim Stanton, said government officials couldn't work out an agreement to allow Magana to stay in the country.

His deportation was already delayed 30 days back in June, but Stanton said ICE officials didn't have the authority to give Magana more time.

"We tried to do our best to be together, but at the same time there was a lot of things to do in court," Magana said.

Some of Magana's farm workers dropped him off at the airport Friday night.

"I'm very sad," said Luis Aristizabal. "Especially for his family, the people that work with him and all the coffee farmers that he manages."

ICE officials discovered Magana was in the country illegally in 2011.

He was smuggled into the U.S. to join his mother when he was 15 years old and eventually settled on the Big Island where he became a respected farmer in the coffee industry.

Magana was working to obtain citizenship when the president's attorney general said he had to go earlier this year.

"He's very brave and I think he's trying to put on a good face for me and my brother and sister," said Magana-Ledesman. "But my dad usually doesn't cry and he did and I think it hurts him to leave us more than anything."

Before hopping on the plane, Magana showed gratitude for the support received during this difficult time.

He added that his family is closer than they've ever been and so is his community.

"I just want to say thank you to everyone here in Kona and all the people who supported me in one way or the other," Magana said.

Magana's attorney said government officials asked for additional evidence to support his wife's petition in granting him legal status, but that process could take another three to four weeks.

Then, they will need to file a unlawful presence waiver which would take another six months to a year.

It could be up to 10 years before Magana is allowed back into the U.S.

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