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Judicial Watch • N.Y. Creates Pardon Panel For Deportable Immigrants

N.Y. Creates Pardon Panel For Deportable Immigrants

N.Y. Creates Pardon Panel For Deportable Immigrants

MAY 04, 2010

To shield criminally convicted immigrants from deportation, the governor of New York has created a special pardon panel to forgive individuals of state crimes that under federal law require expulsion from the U.S.

Governor David Paterson claims that he created the first-of-its kind initiative because federal immigration laws, particularly those involving deportation, are “extremely inflexible” and he simply wanted to “soften the blow” for deserving individuals caught in their “web.”

The new five-member state panel, which has ignited a hostile confrontation with federal authorities, will assist the governor in reviewing the pardon applications of convicted immigrants in the Empire State who are facing extraction from the U.S. Individuals who have shown “extensive efforts towards rehabilitation” will likely get pardoned, Paterson said at a press conference announcing his plan this week.

Not all violent criminals  will be forgiven, the Democrat governor assures. The panel will only recommend pardons for individuals who have “contributed as New Yorkers.” This will help preserve the wealth of good that immigrants have provided the state and will stand as a symbol of justice and humanity that captures the spirit of New York, according to the governor.

Under federal laws passed in 1996, immigrants—even those living in the U.S. legally—are subject to mandatory deportation after criminal convictions, including misdemeanor drug possession. In most cases they are classified as state crimes and only a governor’s pardon can intercept deportation even if the convict is married to a U.S. citizen or has American-born children.

Paterson was inspired by the fact that, in many cases, the individual’s rehabilitation efforts, years of living in the community without any legal trouble and their positive contributions to society are not considered before deportation. Now his new state panel will consider all those factors before allowing the feds to deport a convict.


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