-New York to Grant Pardons to Help Criminal Aliens Evade Deportation
*Hat tip to Carolyn
Last week, New York Governor David Paterson announced he would soon begin to grant pardons to criminal aliens to help them avoid deportation. The highly unusual move places Governor Patterson at odds with the Obama administration, which has focused its removal efforts solely on criminal aliens. Ironically, Paterson announced the new policy during his speech at Law Day at the New York Court of Appeals. (See Law Day Transcript, May 3, 2010).
To execute his new policy, Governor Paterson is establishing a Special Immigration Pardoning Board, consisting of five members, to review individual cases over several weeks. Paterson’s office expects an influx of hundreds of new pardon applications by the end of the year. (Associated Press, May 3, 2010).
Governor Paterson said he was moved to grant pardons after having pardoned a Chinese immigrant for a series of muggings committed as a teenager. Nevertheless, Paterson insisted that his office was “separating these cases from ones where there are egregious crimes.” (The New York Times, May 3, 2010). With respect to public safety, Paterson said, “[T]o be sure, there are some individuals whose crimes are egregious or who pose a threat to public safety….But there are others in which delineation is far less clear. In those cases, our national immigration laws do not permit for any redress or mitigating circumstances. But in New York, we think differently. In New York, we believe in renewal.” (See Law Day Transcript, May 3, 2010).
Open borders advocates hailed Governor Paterson’s decision, but immigration enforcement proponents criticized the move. “There are people out there, maybe the governor included, who don’t want to deport anybody, even people who have committed crimes,” said Jan Ting, a professor at Temple University Law School, and a former assistant immigration commissioner. “I understand the impulse, but it’s an impulse that leads to open borders.” (The New York Times, May 3, 2010).