Governor Paterson May End Senseless Deportations

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Uplifting immigration news, from the New York Times:

ALBANY — Gov. David A. Paterson announced on Monday that the state would accelerate consideration and granting of pardons to legal immigrants for old or minor criminal convictions, in an effort to prevent them from being deported.

The move sets up a confrontation between the governor and federalimmigration officials, who have taken more aggressive action to increase deportations in recent years. Immigration lawyers on both sides called the step extraordinary and said it could ultimately affect thousands of people in New York.

“Some of our immigration laws, particularly with respect to deportation, are embarrassingly and wrongly inflexible,” Mr. Paterson said in a speech on Monday at an annual gathering of the state’s top judges. “In New York we believe in renewal,” he added. “In New York, we believe in rehabilitation.”

To read the rest of the article, click here.

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5 Responses to “Governor Paterson May End Senseless Deportations”

  1. Liquid Reigns Says:

    And yet, the granting of naturalization is to be done by the Feds, not the States, however the States can/should be allowed to legislate law that prohibits those who are here in violation of immigration laws from receiving any benefits and/or ability to stay within the State.

    Patterson may have the power to grant a pardon, however the Feds still have the authority to remove the person.

    • bjohns15 Says:

      Right, but under the current imm. laws, if the crime is gone, it will not have an effect on naturalization and/or removal adjudication. Either way, what Paterson wants to do fairly straightforward: help those who have genuinely reformed from past (minor) behavior. The drug-possession laws that trigger removability are particularly harsh and illogical. Illogical in the fact that they end up costing the government significant money while at the same time not achieving a significant public policy goal, namely removing dangerous aliens.

      Harsh because if someone, say, was legally here for a long time and had one or two minor slip-ups, then reformed, the balances of fairness are out of balance.

  2. Liquid Reigns Says:

    But does the pardon by a governor “expunge” the record? Or does it just grant reprieve by the State? The Feds still can process for immigration violations based on ground of Moral Turpitude for the drug conviction or what other “minor” law you may deem as “harsh”, it would be up to the IJ to determine if the immigrant should be granted a Stay of Deportation.

    • bjohns15 Says:

      I’m not entirely sure, but I believe that the pardon would expunge the record. It would be something to look into; too much time for me now.

      Here is the definition of a conviction, according to INA:

      “The term “conviction” means, with respect to an alien, a formal judgment of guilt of the alien entered by a court or, if adjudication of guilt has been withheld, where–
      (i) a judge or jury has found the alien guilty or the alien has entered a plea of guilty or nolo contendere or has admitted sufficient facts to warrant a finding of guilt, and
      (ii) the judge has ordered some form of punishment, penalty, or restraint on the alien’s liberty to be imposed.”

      But I do believe the pardon is more than simply an expungement of the record–it’s an absolvement of guilt.

      Of course, if this pissed the feds off, they could change the definition of a conviction.

  3. Liquid Reigns Says:

    From what I have read, the Governors pardon seems to expunge the prior record, look at Slick Rick and Hong Wu, both caught up in deportation proceedings, granted a pardon from Patterson, and the hearings then dropped.

    There have been other state Governors that have done this as well, but it is only good so far as they do not get into any further trouble and for only legal immigrants here in LPR/GC status.

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