KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii — Nearly a month after a Hawaii coffee farmer returned to Mexico on orders to leave the United States, his attorney is fighting for the man’s return.
Jim Stanton filed a notice Tuesday with the Board of Immigration Appeals, signaling intent to dispute a Department of Homeland Security decision that denied a petition that would have put Andres Magana Ortiz on track for permanent legal status.
Magana Ortiz, who came to the United States without a visa in 1989, married a woman in 2016. His new wife, a U.S. citizen, filed a petition to get him on track for permanent residency in the United States.
Stanton said the wife’s petition was denied because there wasn’t sufficient evidence that the marriage was legitimate.
Stanton’s filing appeals the decision of the Department of Homeland Security officer who denied the petition. The attorney said he expects to file a brief in the appeal within the next 30 days, West Hawaii Today reported (http://bit.ly/2vmkIBe ).
After that, it will go to the Board of Immigration Appeals, where Stanton said he expects it could take at least four to five months.
Magana Ortiz’s daughter turned 21 on Monday, making her eligible to submit her own petition for her father. That petition was also filed Tuesday.
The state’s congressional delegation wrote to John Kelly, then-secretary of Homeland Security, at the beginning of June asking him to intervene.
Rep. Tulsi Gabbard also introduced a bill to make Magana Ortiz eligible for legal, permanent residency in the United States.
That bill was referred to a House subcommittee at the end of June.
Magana Ortiz’s story caught the interest of Los Angeles filmmaker Robert Greenwald who created a short film on his case.
The film, available on YouTube, features Martin Sheen reading from the opinion interspersed with news footage of Magana Ortiz’s family, business associates and policymakers.
And by putting his film on YouTube, Greenwald said, they’re able to make it available to “literally every person who has access to the internet.”