Metropolitan Transportation Authority of the State of New York/Wikimedia
On Wednesday, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo pardoned 18 immigrants who faced deportation and other immigration-related challenges after previous criminal convictions.
In a statement, Cuomo suggested the immigrants, convicted of things like Petit Larceny and Criminal Facilitation, underwent successful rehabilitation.
“These New Yorkers have proved their rehabilitation, in some cases for decades, but have been unable to gain legal status or fully re-enter society due to the stigma of conviction,” he said.
Cuomo’s office described the immigrants as people who gave back to their communities and families, and lived a “substantial period of crime-free, good citizenship.”
It further indicated that Cuomo’s pardon would bring legal relief, including possibly avoiding deportation:
Some are facing deportation, while others wish to be able to participate in their communities as citizens of the country they call home. In each case, a pardon will make immigration-related relief possible, if not automatic.
The pardons came as President Donald Trump’s administration continues to crack down on illegal immigration, especially on immigrants with criminal records.
In his statement, Cuomo seemed to rebuke the administration’s strategy as lacking compassion.
“While the federal government continues to target immigrants and threatens to tear families apart with deportation, these actions take a critical step toward a more just, more fair and more compassionate New York,” he said.
The Trump administration has received both criticism and praise for its beefed-up immigration enforcement, which resulted in a substantial increase in immigration-related detentions.
At the beginning of his presidency, Trump signed an executive order limiting migration from multiple Muslim-majority countries. Although that ban and an updated version faced multiple court challenges, the Supreme Court ultimately allowed the president to implement the entirety of his new ban.
In response to an Uzbek migrant attacking New Yorkers in October, Trump harped on the need for merit-based immigration and called for an end to chain migration as well as the diversity lottery system.