New York Governor Andrew Cuomo pardoned 61 people including immigrants facing the threat of deportation and other immigration-related problems.
In a statement, Gov. Cuomo explained that he issued the pardons because the individuals proved their rehabilitations. According to him, the 18 immigrants are contributing members of the society. However, they are facing challenges to gain legal status or fully re-enter society due to the stigma of conviction.
A critical step toward a more just and compassionate New York
The governor said, “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.”
Among those who received clemency include Lorena Borjas, 57, who was convicted of Criminal Facilitation in the Fourth Degree in 1994. Borjas is a transgender woman and a victim of human trafficking from Mexico. She became a strong advocated for transgender and immigrant communities. She is currently working as an educator at community health centers across New York City.
Additionally, the governor pardoned 39 persons who committed misdemeanors and non-violent crimes when they were 16 or 17 years old. They have been crime free for 10 years or more.
Gov. Cuomo also commuted the sentences of two individuals because they demonstrated substantial evidence of rehabilitation. They also showed commitment to reducing community violence. The governor also granted pardoned two people who were convicted of non-immigration related crimes.
Gov. Cuomo is reshaping the criminal justice system
Nick Turner, the president of Vera Institute of Justice, praised Gov. Cuomo for displaying a strong leadership. According to him, the governor is helping reshape a criminal justice system that prioritizes that safe and dignity of all New Yorkers.
On the other hand, Anthony Thompson, faculty director of the Center on Race, Inequality and the Law at New York University School of Law, said, “The governor is doing what he can to balance public safety and justice for immigrant New Yorkers.”