California “sanctuary state” Gov. Jerry Brown has empowered the lawyers for five convicts facing deportation with pardons for the crimes upon which their deportations are based.
Between the five foreign nationals are convictions of domestic violence, threatening a crime with intent to terrorize, drug possession, dealing drugs, obstructing a police officer, kidnapping, robbery, felon in possession of a firearm, and auto theft. Sokha Chhan and Phann Pheach face deportation to Cambodia, and Daniel Maher faces deportation to China, according to the Sacramento Bee. The home countries of Daniel Mena and Francisco Acevedo Alaniz were not immediately known.
Brown’s pardon of Maher for kidnapping, robbery, felon in possession of a firearm, and use of a firearm included a reinstatement of Maher’s “right to own, possess, and keep a firearm” to the extent allowable under the state penal code.
Brown issued 56 pardons in total and 14 commutations. The governor’s office posted documentation of each online.
The governor signed California’s sanctuary state policy into law last year. It went into effect at the start of 2018. The United States Department of Justice has fought back against this policy, with Attorney General Jeff Sessions threatening to withhold some federal funding.
President Donald Trump responded Saturday morning to Brown’s pardons, pointing to the crimes of the foreign nationals and asking if such pardons were the will of Californians:
Governor Jerry “Moonbeam” Brown pardoned 5 criminal illegal aliens whose crimes include (1) Kidnapping and Robbery (2) Badly beating wife and threatening a crime with intent to terrorize (3) Dealing drugs. Is this really what the great people of California want?
Asian Law Caucus immigration attorney Anoop Prasad told the Bee that the pardons “provide enormous benefit to immigrants facing deportation.” The deportations are based on the convicts’ crimes, and, as such, the pardons could help lawyers keep the foreign nationals from being deported. This is not the first time Brown has pardoned those at risk of deportation. According to the report, this is the third such instance.
Chhan, Pheach, and Maher have been in the U.S. with permanent residency, according to the Bee.
Brown has pardoned 1,519 individuals as governor of California in the late 70s and early 80 and since he returned to office in 2011.