California Governor Cancels Deportation of Some Illegal Criminals
California Governor Gavin Newsom on Tuesday, November 10, announced a pardon and commuted sentences for 35 current and former convicted felons, including 10 pardons for immigrants facing deportation. Fox News.
The governor's administration found that the "deportation and permanent separation from family" of previously convicted immigrants were "unfair side effects" of their previous convictions.
In total, Newsom pardoned 22 people and commuted 13 more punishments. As a priority in his governorship, he refrained from deporting people on the basis of previous criminal activities.
Newsom also focused on pardons for crimes at a young age, and pushed for investment in justice initiatives, particularly in juvenile matters, including a bill signed by the governor in late September to reform juvenile justice.
One such pardon was given to 41-year-old Somdeng Tongs, who was convicted in 1997 at the age of 17 for killing a rival gang member and wounding two others. He was sentenced to 27 years and 4 months in prison. After 20 years, Tongs was released on parole and then held for two months by law enforcement and immigration customs.
Tongs came to the United States at the age of two as a refugee whose family fled Laos but was allegedly born in a refugee camp in Thailand.
Tongs has faced the threat of deportation to Laos, although he has never been there, according to a letter designed to help prevent his deportation. With the help of officials and letters written to the governor by his relatives, it was possible to achieve a result - Newsom pardoned Tongs on Tuesday, November 10.
The governor’s administration stressed that a pardon "does not cancel a criminal record." It most likely allows a person to return to society, removes obstacles to employment and public service.
Sentence mitigation for 13 people allows for changes or revisions to existing prison sentences, such as parole for those who are deemed eligible.
Crimes for which pardoned and commuted sentences were convicted ranged from drug possession and burglary to manslaughter of varying severity.
Four more people have also received medical deferrals due to the effects of the coronavirus pandemic, allowing them to serve their sentences in alternative locations.
Newsom has made a total of 63 pardons, 78 mitigations, and four deferrals since becoming governor in January 2019, according to the governor's administration.
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