Immigrants Are Seeking Governors’ Pardons in Hope of Blocking Possible Deportations

Governor of California Jerry Brown attends the Los Angeles Special Screening of "An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power" at the Arclight Hollywood, on July 25, 2017. (Credit: Valerie Macon/AFP/Getty Images)

Governor of California Jerry Brown attends the Los Angeles Special Screening of "An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power" at the Arclight Hollywood, on July 25, 2017. (Credit: Valerie Macon/AFP/Getty Images)

The two Cambodian refugees living in Northern California had been convicted of crimes years ago and, under the Trump administration’s more aggressive immigration enforcement policies, those offenses had placed them on a path toward deportation.

But on Saturday, Gov. Jerry Brown announced the pardons of both men — Mony Neth of Modesto and Rottanak Kong of Davis — saying they had paid their debts to society and now lived honest and upright lives.

Immigration is a federal, not state, responsibility, but attorneys for the men hope the pardons will eliminate the rationale for deporting them. Across the country, immigration attorneys are doing the same: seeking gubernatorial pardons in last-ditch attempts to forestall deportations or allow the deported to return to the U.S.

Targeting convicted criminals for deportation isn’t a new idea; it was a priority under President Obama, who deported more people than any of his predecessors. But during the Obama administration, only those with serious crimes on their records were targeted for removal. President Trump has cast a much wider net.

Read the full story on LATimes.com.