U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has granted pardons to 18 aliens in an attempt to shield them from deportation. Cuomo’s actions follow California Gov. Jerry Brown’s pardoning of two aliens several days earlier.

“Today I granted clemency to 61 individuals including 18 pardons to immigrants facing deportation,” Cuomo tweeted on Dec. 27. “While the federal government continues to target immigrants, we’re making a more just, fair, and compassionate New York.”

Cuomo said the pardons may not automatically remove the grounds of removal for those facing deportation, but they are “a necessary predicate to regaining the right to remain here in the country they call home.”

Thomas Decker, New York field office director for ICE’s Enforcement and Removal Operations, had a different message.

“While the governor’s pardons appear to be yet another politically driven attempt to circumvent federal immigration law, whether or not they actually have any legal effect on individual immigration cases will be reviewed by ICE,” Decker said in a statement on Jan. 1.

“For aliens who remain subject to final orders of removal under federal law, ICE will execute those lawful orders.”

Most of those pardoned had obtained legal immigration status at some point, but were convicted of crimes so serious that their legal status was forfeited, according to Jessica Vaughan, director of policy studies at the Center for Immigration Studies.

“However, it’s questionable whether this [pardons] will succeed, because under immigration law pardons do not necessarily wipe out the effect of the original conviction,” Vaughan said. “There’s also a potentially very negative political result, as people question why these governors would take this action to protect criminals from the consequences of their actions, or simply to undermine immigration laws that the general public wants to see enforced.”

Among those granted pardons in New York is Freddy Perez, 53, who was convicted of criminal sale of a controlled substance in the third degree and attempted criminal sale of a controlled substance in the third degree in 1993, according to a statement released by Cuomo.

By Charlotte Cuthbertson for THE EPOCH TIMES
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