Local Connection: Magana Deportation

The saga of Kona Coffee Farmer Andres Magana is a story of the American dream. Unfortunately it is also now a story of how the dream can become a nightmare in the current climate.

Mr. Magana voluntarily left Hawaii and his wife and three children for Mexico Friday night. The last efforts by his lawyers and the community to appeal for more time were rebuffed by local officials - who said they didn't have authority to prevent deportation.

Magana chose to return to Mexico voluntarily to improve his chances of returning to Hawaii. Both his wife and his daughter will petition for him to come back with legal status.

Either way he will likely be gone for years.

The case has been a lightning rod for the national immigration debate. Even though his removal began when he was discovered living here illegally years ago.

He was allowed to remain with his family and to keep running his business while seeking to become legal under prior law.

But that ended when the Trump Administration officially decided that keeping families together was no longer a priority. Meanwhile, those concerned about illegal immigration say if someone breaks the laws to come here, they should not be allowed to stay while others are trying to enter legally.

It's a big debate. But it's the small stories, like that of Andres Magana, that remind us that there are real people, families and communities being damaged by this zero-tolerance policy.

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